by Karen Stiller
Have you ever had a conversation that started out innocently — as in, not intended to be a fight — but quickly derailed and became a train wreck? I know I have. And it seems the closer the relationship (spouse, parent, child, close co-worker) the greater the risk of a fiery conversation crash.
Our July/August Faith Today cover story deals with just this topic.
Tim Schroeder, national pastor for The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada, wrote the piece for us, delving into what a “crucial conversation” is and why it’s so important we get them right.
The material for the story is based on the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High (McGraw Hill, 2011), a book that I bought for myself a couple of years ago and now sits worn out and well-read on my shelf of books I will not give away (and don’t easily lend because I don’t want to lose it).
A crucial conversation, according to www.crucialskills.com (and our article!), is “a discussion between two or more people where (1) the stakes are high, (2) opinions vary and (3) emotions run strong.”
Some of those conversations are probably pretty obvious: you want to speak to your pastor about a problem in the congregation, or you have to confront a family member about a serious past hurt.
But we’ve probably all been in a conversation we thought was going to be benign: what movie to go to; how that outfit looks on your spouse — and discovered we were up to our neck in crucial issues very quickly.
Our article gives tips for how to navigate these choppy relational waters. Hint: we have to be willing to speak the truth in love. Sometimes that is easier said than done. Which brings us back to what we think of as one of the most readable and important July/August covers we’ve done in a while.