sharing

Prompt: How Do You Communicate With Someone Who Has A Very Different Point Of View From Your Own

Today’s prompt used as our starting point the following quote:

Dr. Amy Uehlman, Georgetown Law School

“Our goal in debating provocative topics is actually not to reach a consensus or agreement. We’re not looking for common ground; we’re looking for something much deeper. We’re looking for a sharing of personal narrative, a genuine respect for one another and understanding of others’ experiences that helped to shape their opinions even if, especially if, those opinions are divergent from our own. Not because we merely tolerate them, but because we truly see them and we truly care.”

Write about how we might be able to really listen to another point of view very different from our own and attempt to appreciate the experience of the person expressing it.

Writers in the Grove News: Local Pen Pals

News - Writers in the Grove - News Time Article on Local Pen Pals April 2017 Forest Grove Oregon - CoverAt the beginning of this school year 2016-2017, a local parent and volunteer with the nearby Gaston, Oregon, elementary school contacted Writers in the Grove about a local pen pal program. Many members volunteered to correspond with the children at the school, and it has changed lives on both ends of the mailbox.

Words bring old and young writers together in special partnership” features the unique program of connecting local writers with local elementary students for a pen pal program, and includes interviews with several of our members.

Gretchen Keefer had a question for the sixth-graders at Gaston Elementary School: What are you thankful for?

She wrote to them as part of the pen-pal relationship between Gaston Elementary and her Forest Grove writing group, hoping the question would give the students something to write back about.

Turns out the students had never thought much about thankfulness, said their teacher, Thea Hiersche.

But after taking the time to list all the things they love in life, they were “amazed,” said Hiersche. From there, the class “started the conversation about how we, as a thankful community, could help others who don’t have as much.”

Keefer’s writing prompt ended up inspiring a donation drive for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

That’s how words can turn into ideas that turn into actions. It’s also how old-fashioned letters can provide inspiration and writing help to young students — and joy to their grown-up writing partners.

“Just seeing these older people gathered around the table — none of them can wait to open the letters as soon as we get our stacks,” said Mary Jane Nordgren, a member of the writing group. “It really warms the hearts of everyone.”

This wonderful project could not have happened without the dedication of Sheila Harter. She has worked overtime to volunteer her services as “pony express courier” to collect letters from both groups and exchange them every week.

You may read the full article on the Forest Grove Times News site, and check out our pictures of the articles below.

News - Writers in the Grove - News Time Article on Local Pen Pals April 2017 Forest Grove Oregon (2) News - Writers in the Grove - News Time Article on Local Pen Pals April 2017 Forest Grove Oregon (3)

The Humanity of Flowers

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, William Stafford, and was inspired by the prompt, Coming Over the Rise I Saw.

That humans could be as compatible as flowers. Flowers do nt seem to care what kind is planted next to them or about their color or fragrance, if any. Some need space of their own but still do not attack their neighbors.

Oh that we could share our space in the world as gracefully.