TKG LEARN: Sharing Knowledge – An Act of Love

From Humane Connection/Institute for Humane Education:IHE

As humane educators and changemakers, sharing our knowledge with other people can sometimes be difficult or awkward. Often when we tell others about difficult or disturbing topics it seems like we have hit a brick wall. There are so very many challenges in the world today that many people feel a real need to tune out and remain willfully blind to those problems and situations.

Instead of being frustrated with them, remember that they too may care very deeply about what is happening and feel overwhelmed by their own perceived impotence in the face of it. They may not want to hear because they are afraid that if they open their hearts to knowing about cruelty, unfairness, or entrenched systems that exploit or trivialize the earth, animals, and other people, that the grief or frustration will overcome them. If you get a bad reaction, or the person you’re trying to communicate with shuts down, be gentle with them and with yourself. Remember back to the time (maybe only a few weeks or days ago) when you did not know something or were not ready to act on what you know.

Having said that, people are often very grateful to have knowledge that they didn’t possess. Look for a natural opening in the day’s activities or conversations to bring up your topic. Those openings exist everywhere throughout the day, and the more you listen and watch for them, the better you will get at seizing the opportunity to convey what you know. Teachers call these “teachable moments.” There are many, many teachable moments every day.

Don’t force a topic or bring it up out of nowhere, because doing so can feel artificial or threatening. For example, dinner with your spouse’s meat eating family, who is extending hospitality to you with their offering of a meal, probably isn’t the best time to impart your knowledge of factory farming. Or when a special someone with whom you have a budding relationship has just given you a Valentine’s heart filled with chocolate would probably be the less than optimal time to say “Do you know how much chocolate is sourced using slavery?”


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