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Different opinions offer opportunity 

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It is said, “Life is a classroom.” In my new life at Grizzly Peak, a retirement community in Missoula, this statement is proven every day for me. But I have to be willing to learn, attitude matters. At 88, I’m realizing that learning can occur at any age.     

I’ve been at Grizzly Peak since June 20. In that time, someone said to me, “It’s best not to bring up religion and politics.” I thought about that. Why is it best not to talk about these things? The answer, of course, is because it can often cause anger, divisiveness and get us nowhere. Yes, that can happen. But it is also an opportunity.   

Here at Grizzly Peak as I meet new people, share backgrounds and opinions on this and that, I’m finding how beneficial it is to listen productively. Productive listening encourages good dialogue and exploration of a subject. Differing views, handled correctly, can create positive interchanges on most any subject.        

While listening to the Democratic debates and addressing our present severe political divisiveness, I was thinking about applying the “life is a classroom” concept to addressing this problem. I think it is essential that things be brought out in the open and talked about. We need to look at root causes of the breakdown in our political system; things like greed, fear, anger and attack. These negative characteristics infiltrate our politics, economics, education, healthcare, etc.  These powerful characteristics are attacking the very foundation and fabric of our democracy. 

Life is a classroom. Are we willing to listen and learn or are we walking out of class? I guess that choice is up to each of us.   

Bob McClellan



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