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Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Right Time To Challenge

Recently, I co-led a workshop about being an active anti-racist. The friend who asked me to help is someone I've known for many years. As the day progressed, I realized I was learning more about myself than what I was "teaching" to the 12 participants. One of my key learnings, picked up watching my skillful friend and then reinforced during offline conversations we had debriefing exercises we'd conducted, was about picking the right time to challenge. It's a lesson I've had to re-learn many times.

Although I've gotten marginally more tactful as I've aged, I am still highly susceptible to being triggered, especially when someone makes a remark I find offensive. And during those triggered moments, I often mistake righteousness for effectiveness. It's not that I doubt my position; but until I regain my wits, I need to recognize this is not the right time to challenge. How do you know when the time is right to challenge?

I'm equally curious to know how any of you balance your sense of speaking out about something you believe in  (when challenging others) vs. a need to "keep the peace". My struggle is with the importance of keeping the peace vs. feeling like a coward when I'm silent.    

1 comment:

  1. I find the older i get the more i'm inclined to challenge people.maybe i feel like time is running out.we all have our causes therefore we all have our different triggers as you say. i do tend to take a soft approach to get my point accross.as far as the "right time" goes there might be a few simple rules. not at weddings or funerals certainly.although the soft approach is appropriate in any setting,lol. when you're badly outnumbered,especially when the people you're outnumbered by have violent tendencies you might just let it go and live to fight another day.though some causes are worth dieing for[not mine thankfully].seriously though, if we feel strongly that something is important we should speak up. too many times i have kept quiet to "keep the peace".

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