Advocacy is about changing minds and influencing others through words and deed’s to support your point of view. For the past 10+ years, our advocacy and communications work focused on making a positive impact in the lives of many. For example, we have labored to ensure that every child receives a high-quality education., We have advocated for providing avenues for business to thrive and we have communicated the burdensome effect on overbearing government regulations.
Today, as we focus on growing 29:11 Strategies we reflect on how we can help our clients become better advocates and are struck by the truth in James 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. These three simple principals serve as a strong foundation for anyone looking to influence others through advocacy.
Quick to Listen: In the world of politics this is often the first obstacle that impedes cooperation and progress. The acceptance to hear different and conflicting ideas is frequently lost. Politics is a delicate procedure involving taking ideas from various viewpoints and creating laws and regulations that attempt to improve the lives of all people. The first step is to listen. Hear what others have to say and be eager to learn. It is okay to disagree on ideas and principals, but don’t close down the lines of communication by failing to listen to others.
Slow to Speak: My grandfather told me “God gave you two ears and one mouth, indicating that you need to listen twice as much as you talk.” There is a lot of merit to this statement. By listening, we can gather knowledge and formulate opinions. That knowledge should then be thoroughly processed and examined. For anything we speak should have already been put through a filter to remove the faulty and inappropriate language that would cause misunderstanding. When we are slow to speak, our thoughts and ideas will align, bringing into focus the words that effectively advocate a policy position.
Slow to Anger: The last and arguably most important ingredient to our phrase is “slow to anger.” It is easy to become excited and filled with angry passion. Anger clouds the mind and corrupts the way in which we learn and communicate. Anger and hate prevent and distort the reception of truth. It is imperative to calm the mind and spirit when advocating on any issue. An angry mind becomes agitated and is not in a condition to see the value in the information presented or accurately weigh the evidence for it. A hostile mind also is quick to react and speak before thoughts are processed. It is in these moments that regret is born and efficient advocacy ceases to exist.
Politics is about working together to make the world a better place for everyone. When we try to communicate without grace, we often fail in this mission. We let wrath consume us to the point where communication becomes impossible. By actively practicing these three qualities: quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger the lines of communication will open, and progress will occur.
Unfortunately, Congress, the Presidency, and the Media are currently struggling with these very issues. We can be different. We have the tools and the knowledge to be effective advocates. We can overcome the hatred and wrath that has fueled both sides for so long by slowing down and reminding ourselves to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.