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The Iceberg

I’ve learned a lot recently, and learned much of it very quickly.

Unfortunately, this means my ability to understand the U.S. political landscape has far exceeded my ability to explain it. Fortunately, I started practicing a lot, so I’m better now than I was even a month ago.

My passion still exceeds my skill, but the gap between the two gets a little less cavernous every time I practice.

Never (yet) has the gap been clearer than when I expressed horror over what’s happening in Yemen.

Once I recognized my passion-skill gap there, I sat with it a while.

I spent a long time thinking about how to explain–sans antagonism–why I care so much about strangers in Yemen.

Finally, I found a way to explain with a better balance between passion and skill.

Please click the image below to read my second Progressive Army piece. For more context, you might also want to read this illuminating Bill Moyers piece.

I hope you’ll read, reflect, and share your thoughts with me.

Thank you.


  1. December 12, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Yes, I love this. Especially the last paragraph!

    • December 17, 2016 at 7:36 am


      I still have lotsa room to improve my listening, but hey! I’m getting a little better every day!

  2. December 13, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    God willing, your passion will always exceed your skill, since more people relate to passion than to logic. What’s written through tears will touch the hearts of others; what’s written in anger will elicit only anger; cold, hard facts will only harden the hearts of the people. Let’s learn to speak heart to heart while still focusing on facts — a very hard balance to find.

    • December 17, 2016 at 7:37 am

      This statement had a huge impact on me! For me, it really underscored the idea that there’s only so much one set of eyes can see. That, too, is part of that longer post I’ll probably (if I’m good & true to my commitments to Be With the little ones more) end up writing next weekend.

      I, too, hope my passion always exceeds my skill, and that I continue working to bridge the gap even knowing it’ll never be completely bridged.

  3. December 13, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Wow. That image really packs a punch!

    Why care about what happens in Yemen? Or anyone else, for that matter? Because, empathy. But, if that’s not enough to get you there, how about selfish self-interest? I care about the plight of refugees because I imagine how I would feel if I were in their shoes. (Honestly, though, I can’t even imagine. My day is ruined when the Taco Bell shorts me an item in the drive-thru.)

    This is the same reason why all of us should care what happens in prison, too. One day, if falsely accused and jailed, then we’ll wish everyone else cared, too. (Pro tip: They won’t.)

    • December 14, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      I’m totally with you. It’s about empathy, which doesn’t seem to be in high supply anymore.

      I also agree that most people probably won’t care. All the same, I’m going to keep trying. I owe the effort to reach people to my sons, though I’m certainly not going to hold myself responsible for whether or not anyone chooses to see the humanity in those with less power (now).

      • December 15, 2016 at 5:55 am

        I’ve thought a lot about empathy and concluded it’s something we should be teaching our young. I’m not exactly sure how it’s done, something about setting a good example perhaps? I don’t think our education gives it much thought, though, preferring to pump out good worker units rather than fully realized individuals who are critical thinkers capable of empathy.

        • December 15, 2016 at 6:05 am

          This exactly relates to a conversation I had with Li’l D and my husband yesterday.

          Li’l D said something that made me go, “You know, it can’t be said you lack empathy.” He asked what it was, and I explained. I told him about the difference between “emotional intelligence” and “intellectual intelligence,” and explained that emotional intelligence is often overlooked … but not because it’s not important.

          I see the same empathy in his little brother, and I’m very, very glad that I had a great teacher: my mom, who managed to find empathy even when she was crushed. I think it came easier to her than me, but I try.

          (One teacher who had all my siblings said that he’d never had such kind kids. I didn’t really understand how important he found this until recently, but I’m glad as hell he empathized with my mom instead of castigating her.)

  1. December 13, 2016 at 4:21 am

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