On Guard!

Learning to communicate has to be a primary interest of a good pastor, teacher or politician. I once heard John Maxwell define the difference between a speaker and a communicator like this. A speaker will give you information. A communicator wants you to understand it.

It’s been said that leaders are readers. I would add that excellent leaders are good communicators. Of course that means studying how to communicate as well as having the grasp of the material and its application that you wish to share.

However, it is important that all of us develop a deep reservoir of knowledge of the issues facing our communities, states and nation. Then learn to listen carefully and respectfully to one another and communicate deeply from our life lessons and wisdom.

It would frustrate to no end the demagogues who simply toss out red meat to hungry voters, conservative or liberal. An informed electorate who can communicate their ideas to candidates and then listen intelligently. As a pastor of great church, I am grateful for the informed and involved people that I do life with.  One of my cherished memories was speaking for a family camp in Greece.  Afterwards, I would sit and drink strong coffee and eat Baclava and discuss my message with the men.  They were passionate and articulate!

Knowing the issues and how to communicate will also equip us to listen carefully to each other. Being able to intelligently and respectfully disagree will lead us to a greater dialogue and respect for one another. It will edge out those who seek to make enemies out of one another during a campaign. I enjoy the discussions with people who may disagree me but they are able to intelligently and politely state their positions. Sometimes I feel like saying, “On Guard!” and then entering the debate, knowing that we’ll both enjoy the reparte that fencing with ideas brings.

There are many ideas that will continue to divide us a nation. We are a nation in a great cultural idea evolution. Some old “ideals” need to be revisited. For instance, I’d love to hear a politician say to the Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party, GOP and Dems, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what can you do for your country,” as JFK once did.


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