We citizen-educators help people we know think better. Much better!
Kitchen Table Conversations is our primary tool. Kitchen Table Conversations uses physical markers (such as labels on beer coasters) to enable people to keep track of conversations about the main drivers that make global warming and other environmental trends worse.
There can be psychological barriers to conducting Kitchen Table Conversations. And it can be helpful to develop enhanced communication skills. Let’s have a look.
Breaking normal social conventions
When we are children, we expect to be taught by our parents and teachers. As adults, we do courses of all kinds. Generally in these courses we have a relationship of teacher and student. It is unusual as adults for us to become informal teachers of one another, unless we happen to be in a study group.
So, in suggesting that we act as citizen-educators, we may immediately hit a barrier. We are asking people to break normal social conventions.
However, this need not be a great barrier. We can start by simply offering an invitation along the lines of:
Would you be willing to spend some time with me having an in-depth conversation? I have some ideas I would like to introduce you to.
If your friend says Yes, then you have an agreement.
Faced with the prospect of conducting Kitchen Table Conversations, we can have self-doubts such as:
- I don’t know enough
- People will think I’m weird
Catalysing mass commitment to transformational change describes the main Kitchen Table Conversations modules. If you look at them, you will realise that you do not have to be highly knowledgeable. Many of the key points you will already be aware of, and the other ones are not difficult to grasp.
This will be true of the people you talk with, as well. People already know a lot, but they haven’t connected the dots. We help them do that.
As for the idea that people will think you are weird – perhaps some will. But it may be that some the people you know would welcome the chance for a serious conversation with clear thinking.
I don’t want to be proselytising
Although we are introducing new ideas that we believe people would do well to pay attention to, we are not introducing an ‘ideology’. Rather, we are creating an opportunity to think for themselves about the reality and consequences of current ecological and social trends, and the systemic drivers that make them worse.
Not letting our doubts limit us
It is well-known that doubts limit us.
The classic way to deal with doubts is simply to push through them and ‘do it anyway’. With experience, we become confident.
There are more elegant ways to resolve such doubts as ‘I don’t know enough’ or ‘People will think I’m weird’.
Here are three techniques that can be really helpful:
- EFT (the tapping technique)
EFT is an aspect of energy psychology. It was discovered that tapping on acupressure points with our fingers can elicit a mental/emotional shift that surprisingly rapidly resolves psychological issues.
- St Francis Process
In the St Francis process we visualise meeting the (unknown) part of us that carries doubt, phobias or other psychological issues.
- Option Process
Starting with an issue on the surface, such as doubt, we can ask a series of Zen -like questions that take us to deeper layers of the psyche. At some point we may realise that our concerns are quite unrealistic in terms of current reality, and laugh and let them go.
These techniques are described in Inner Work. You can download it here.