I picked this book up off of the clearance table at Seagull Book a six weeks ago, interested to see what it had to say about conflict. The topic fits right in with what I teach in my communication classes, and I was eager to read a more detailed LDS perspective on the subject. Plus, I have not felt the textbooks I teach from offer students enough tools to use in this area.
When We Don't See Eye to Eye turned out to be enlightening and helpful.
Pulsipher's writing style is easy to follow and engaging considering the nonfiction topic. He has several good personal stories he tells, as well as a great one I had never heard about from one of the apostles. I never found myself bored while reading--but I did need to take time to really digest. In fact, there are some parts of this book I want to re-read to make sure I've really grasped the concepts.
I particularly liked Pulsipher's cyclical model for conflict and his relation of it to gospel principles. Basically, he says there are three ways to respond to conflict: the first way is to give in (telestial response), the second is to try and strike back (terrestrial), and the third is to assertively, lovingly point out the problem (celestial). Pulsipher cites several stories from the New Testament showing Christ's utilization of assertive love, and provides great insight I was unaware of previously.
If you are a communication nerd like me, I highly recommend this book. There is a lot to learn. I would love to find a way to teach some of these concepts to my teens... maybe I will have to come up with a FHE lesson I can post here in the future.
"We may find ourselves at the center of the turbulence or watching from the sidelines. But regardless of the consistency, intensity, or proximity of anger and aggression in our lives, most of us share a common handicap—our greatest resource, the weapon of love, remains either sheathed or only timidly employed . . . Conflict and contention are among the more undesirable—and unavoidable—characteristics of human nature. While it is within our power to control our own actions and attitudes, how can we encourage those around us to break the cycle of anger and negativity? Learn to limit others’ negative power by wielding a weapon stronger than hate or greed or fear or malice—the weapon of love. Author J. David Pulsipher encourages readers to take a Christ-centered approach to negativity with a comprehensive look at how conflict arises, how human nature distorts conflict, and how to use love as a force against anger."