Archive for June, 2014

Here’s the questionnaire I developed for Eye of the Storm discussions. It’s to raise awareness, and is intended for people to look at privately.


A personal, private questionnaire.   When I disagree with the speaker, I:

  • Keep expounding my position until s/he caves in & agrees with me
  • Expand my opinion and reasoning using other examples to make my position clear
  • Shorten my opinion so it is succinct and clear
  • Use labels to denigrate the other
  • Acknowledge the limited truth of the other’s opinion and/but show how mine is more accurate
  • Ask questions to clarify parts that puzzle me
  • Feel frustrated that the other person doesn’t get it
  • Am energized by the debate and hope it lasts a long time
  • Walk away without saying anything to refute the other’s opinion (think “to heck with this!”)
  • Consider the (limited) truth of the other information if relevant to the issue
  • Consider how my truth is limited by my experience, and name the experiences that shape it
  • Desire to learn how the other thinks and why that is so
  • Care about the outcome so keep talking and listening
  • Give up my opinion temporarily (ie. Take my ego out of the situation)
  • Request a time-out
  • Change my opinion when new information arrives that corrects a concept I held
  • Rarely change my opinion
  • Show that I respect  others rights to their  opinions by …
  • Try hard to find common ground
  • Accept that others  have a right to their own opinions
  • Change the subject
  • Ask if they will listen to me with the same respect and time as they want from me
  • Know I won’t change my opinion because it is heart-felt and carefully researched
  • Separate the opinion from the speaker
  • Say nothing, but think they are totally wrong (or brain-washed, or ignorant, etc.)
  • Think they are lying, and question their motivation
  • Feel it necessary to correct their faulty opinion
  • Find a way to agree to disagree so that a semblance of harmony is maintained
  • Ask myself “Is this a hill I want to die on?”
  • Use email to express a different opinion because I write better than I talk
  • Refuse to engage in a difficult conversation unless in person and in a private setting
  • Use email to set the bottom line, and ask for a private time to talk in person
  • Acknowledge that I don’t want to bother with more conversation on this topic, & say so
  • Keep a firm sense of time and importance – does this matter?  Why? Why not?
  • Find the humour in the situation – there has to be some!
  • Continue the conversation via email, phone or letter
  • Stick to the issue.  No sidetracks or bringing in old stuff.  State my motivation.

This questionnaire was created by Sharon Montgomery, Coordinator, Eye of the Storm discussion group at Knox United Church, 506 4th St. SW, Calgary, AB.  Members of Eye of the Storm received this questionnaire prior to the June 9, 2014 meeting, and were asked to complete it before the meeting.  The sharing circles asked  people to address two questions, within 2-minutes each.

Circle One: How do you feel in a conflict situation?  When someone disagrees with you?  What  makes it bearable?

Circle Two: When are you not willing to listen to a different opinion? Share an issue that you have worked long and hard to refine your thinking, and aren’t willing to listen to an opposite view.  What happened when the issue came up?


Please feel free to use as you wish, but give credit to the compiler/creator.  Some suggestions for use are:

. in a group like Eye of the Storm, which has existed to give expression to diverse views

. in a spousal relationship

. in a counselling situation, where communication styles differ & challenge (isn’t that always true?)

. as a party game with a group of people who already like each other (& will continue to after)

. to increase awareness of our habits

. to show how ordinary and human we are

. to show how no one is perfect

. to mark our habitual responses with an A, our desired responses with a B


Please add your thoughts to this one-page questionnaire.  The author would like to hear from you Contact her at shmontgo@telus.net




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It’s springtime and I have been gardening and reading.  However, my friend Jen stopped in with a bunch of books she was taking to donate to WINS, and I chose several of her books for me to read before she donated them.  Jen has similar taste in reading to me, so I knew they would be good reads.  As well, I found a used book at WINS and read it.  It was called Sins of the Wolf by Ann Perry, and was a mystry novel about Inspector Monk and his accused side-kick Hester Latterly. I liked her social commentary on morals and cultural standards of a century ago.  Fun to read!  I figured out who was responsible for the false charge, about 1/3 through the book, and kept reading to learn in the last 2 pages that I was right.   I also read The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult.  This is the third Jodi Picoult book I’ve read, and I found it hard to read.  Again, I figured out the true culprit one-third through the book, but I liked its use of graphic novels as well as the Alaskan landscape.  An interesting read!  Then before that I read The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner.  It was very amusing, and reminded me of how much TV I watch, and what goes into creating a successful TV show.  Too much pap!  Before that I read The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry.  This is my favourite of the four books.   It was much more literary, spell-binding, and evocative.  Parts bothered me, as I saw similarities to my own life, and I was confronted by my daughter’s reality within the protagonist’s viewpoint.  However, I got past that, and had an interesting conversation with my partner Deb about taking on the viewpoint of the protagonist.  She reminded me that it’s totally unnecessary, and it’s a choice.  Not all books are meant to be life-changing!  Some are pure entertainment.  So four fiction books are enough.  Now I am reading a non-fiction feminist treatise by Susan Brownmiller, Femininity.  It is making my knowledge sharper and clearer.  A good read.  I like non-fiction books.  They are life-changing, after all.


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