Talking about a divisive topic is hard — emotions run high and the default is to argue a position, rather than listening to all sides of an issue. That’s especially true when the conversation is about affordable housing. Who decides what is affordable? What responsibility do communities have — if any — for providing housing that is affordable to a range of income levels? What role should government play in addressing the topic?
As a follow-up to our earlier session on affordable housing and homelessness, you are invited to join us from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, March 23 for the third installment of the 3 Practices event — a methodology that individuals, schools, businesses and religious leaders are using to help people cross the difference divide.
This month’s topic will include a closer look at the issue of affordable housing: “If creating affordable housing were easy, everyone would do it. What are the obstacles? What are the opportunities?”
The free event will be at Edmonds Community College, Woodway Hall, Room 202. It is being co-sponsored by Edmonds Community College and Campbell Auto Group. Registration is not required.
Attendees will learn general principles to facilitate a respectful conversation on any topic, with a closer look March 23 at the topic of affordable housing, which was introduced at the first 3 Practices event on Jan. 30.
The facilitators are Jim Henderson and Jim Hancock, co-creators of The 3 Practice Group Method.
They will explain what makes the 3 Practices work, and then quickly dive into modeling a group so that those attending can witness the process firsthand. Following this opening round, attendees will have the opportunity to respond, ask questions, and then try their hand at the first of the 3 Practices: “I’ll be unusually interested in others.” The event will wrap up with audience observations about the issues discussed.
Since 2016, over 40 of these 3 Practice events have been presented on hot topics of the day, including immigration, politics, race, diversity, gun control and economic inequity.
The March 23 event is presented by Lynnwood Today, MLTnews and My Edmonds News, and publisher Teresa Wippel said she is looking forward to learning — along with readers — best practices for having civil conversations, even when there are disagreements.
Here are the 3 Practices.
- I’ll be unusually interested in others.
- I’ll stay in the room with difference.
- I’ll stop comparing my best with your worst
“The 3 Practices help us understand without capitulating,” said Jim Hancock, a facilitator and co-creator of the 3 Practice Group Method. “They lower the emotional temperature by increasing understanding between ideological opposites. Understanding doesn’t guarantee agreement, but it contributes to mutual respect when we disagree. We look forward to helping attendees refine their skills so that they can discuss tough issues in a respectful manner, regardless of personal or political ideology.”
3 Practices co-founder Jim Henderson says his mission is to address the civility crisis facing our community and our nation:
- Friends and families are finding it hard to stay in the room with each other.
- Business owners are at a loss as to how to handle political disagreement between employees
- Schools are struggling to find models to offer their students on how to share common ground.
“That gap between ideological opponents is what we call the difference divide,” Henderson said. “Our mission is to help people acquire the tools to cross that divide without abandoning their views.”
The location is Edmonds Community College Woodway Hall Room 202, located on the second floor of Woodway Hall (near the entrance to the Lynnwood Golf Course). For directions and a campus map, visit edcc.edu/campus.
The 3 Practices method was born from The No Joke Project, a feature-length documentary; the book “No Joke: A Rabbi, an Imam and a Preacher Do the Unthinkable and Become Friends for Life,” co-written by Henderson and Cara Highsmith, and a series of live shows about the friendship between three Peoria, Ill., clergymen. The trio deliberately forged a relationship to cultivate understanding and tolerance despite their philosophical differences.
Want to know how it works? Watch the video of the 3 Practices Jan. 30 event: