I try to be open to learning from anyone I can. Just because I do not agree with someone on one issue or question does not mean I cannot benefit from hearing from them on something else.

The last several days in our nation’s political news there has a lot of discussion about former Vice President, and potential presidential candidate, Joe Biden. The issue raised is about what some see as inappropriate actions by Biden through the years with regard to multiple women.

For whatever it is worth, from what I have seen and read, I do not think the former Vice President is “a dirty old man” disrespecting women. My impression is, as others have said, that he is a warm and affectionate man. And in saying that I am not suggesting that women should not be uncomfortable or should be accepting of his actions.

Back to being open to learning from anyone, I was impressed by what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said about the situation: “I think that it’s important for the vice president and others to understand [that] it isn’t what you intended, it’s how it was received” (emphasis added). That’s not just an important reminder, to me it is also thoughtful, wise, and something worth keeping in mind.

Most of us have said and done things in our lives when what was received by others wasn’t what we intended. I’m reluctant to assign blame in such situations. And that’s why I think what Pelosi said is important and something we all need to understand as well as keep in mind.

Here’s what I want to do as a result of this discussion. I want to be more careful and thoughtful about how what I say or do may be received. I also want to be less thin-skinned and short-fused when it comes to the words and actions of others. Will you join me?

(My original title for this post was “Joe, Nancy, You, and Me,” but I thought that detracted from the seriousness of the subject.)

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