“If we want more unity and less contempt, however, we need to get out of our comfort zones, go where we are not welcome, and spend time talking and interacting with people with whom we disagree—not on lightweight stuff like sports and food, but on hard moral things.”
― Arthur C. Brooks, Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt
For the past month, I have been spending my Tuesday mornings with one of my favorite thought-leaders, Arthur C. Brooks. If you have been in the Leadership Montana world during the two years, you have likely heard me talk about his book, Love Your Enemies, and how his theories align with the teachings of our organization.
Through a unique opportunity that I am afforded to study with Dr. Brooks, I am consistently reminded of how important our work is at Leadership Montana. We can change the trajectory of our collective behavior. We can build a better society for all of us. I am holding tight to this belief, and seeking every opportunity to put this work into action.
On its face, ours is a professional development course, giving our participants tangible skills to work better together, more knowledge about Montana communities, and strong relationships that can extend beyond those eight months together. Those of us that dig deeper into our work know that our programming is so much more, and often undefinable.
At its core, Leadership Montana is about bridging what divides us, and these days there is no shortage of division. Our work is about seeking to understand, even when we do not agree. We replace disdain with respect, and change the culture of contempt. Our work is about depolarization in a deeply polarized world. We are about creating unity in a divided world.
Dang…that is so hard, right?
Every day, our members are out in your circles of influence making the world a more gracious place. You are leaning into hard conversations, not backing away from them. You are getting curious with someone who disagrees with you, knowing that by doing so, you may just learn more about yourself. You are doing this work everyday. We see it and we see you. Keep going.
And when you need help, we are here for you, always.
Be well and lead well,
Chantel M. Schieffer
President & CEO
Class of 2010, Masters 2019