Are you afraid of conflict?

18 Aug

I admit I don’t like conflict and prefer to not step out of my comfort zone.  Talking about the hard parts of adoption is tough.  I go over my words countless times before I hit publish, trying to ensure I don’t paint everyone within a group with the same brush, or come off totally angry.  And I am deeply angry at times and have failed more often than I have succeeded, but those successes – in getting people to think and step outside of their comfort zone means I have made a difference, even if it is only one or two people.  It means I have done what I set out to do.

I would like you to listen to this TED Talk by “Margaret Heffernan [as she] explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead managers and organizations astray.”  It is a very short talk and starts off with a story about the doctor who figured out what was causing so many children to have cancer, she found the answer but it took 25 years of disagreeing with the mainstream medical community to make the change.

A fantastic model of collaboration: thinking partners who aren’t echo chambers.” (Margaret Heffernan)

To me that is what happens in adoption today.  People jump on the bandwagon whether it is the current Christian dogma they listen too, or because of their journey of infertility that leads them to adoption, or other personal reasons.  They self-select to only hear those who believe the same thing.  They choose to believe the sound-bytes without researching to confirm the reality and truthfulness of the statements.  They choose to not hear those who say something isn’t right.

We all have to talk to those we disagree with, and keep talking and thinking critically, to make sure we do better.  The current and future generations deserve it.

I try to listen and think hard about what has been said, and search for more information to broaden my mind and understanding – do you?

Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree


Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Adoption, Ethics


Tags: , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Are you afraid of conflict?

  1. cb

    August 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Great speech.
    I like where she said that “by not being able to prove that she was wrong that geore was able to give alice the confidence she needed to know she was right.”

    Like you, I hate conflict. I find it really hard to know that people find what I say so “offensive” when I try really hard not to be. I do listen to their replies and take them into account and that has helped me change my approach a bit. For example, how often do we get commenters say “oh but my situation is different”. So I’ve decided to just say what I think should be the guidelines for counselling for a women facing an unplanned pregnancy and what practices I think shouldn’t be allowed and no-one can then say “but our situation is different” because I’m not talking about anyone’s particular situation but just my own opinion about guidelines.


    • TAO

      August 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      It seems in a discussion when opinions are strong that some can’t discuss adoption without making it about “their story” and that is why they run away with their ears covered singing lalalalala…

      Only when they can separate “adoption as an institution” vs “how our adoption went down” can the discussion get real.

      I really liked her talk and it is so applicable to the discourse in adoption today.



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