Colin Kaepernick is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49rs. He has recently drawn both criticism and praise, depending on how you view his actions, for sitting down, in protest, during the singing of the national anthem. You can see his rationale below....
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." (Steve Wyche, NFL.com).
Obviously Mr. Kaepernick is passionate about the cause and feels called to represent. Later in his interview he went on to discuss how he was not personally feeling oppressed but wanted to represent the voices of those that do not have a voice. Seemingly noble right?
The issues with Mr. Kaepernick's actions is not what he believes in or what he is trying to change but more with how he chose to represent this change. As soon as Mr. Kaepernick chose to use the “American Flag” as the centerpiece of his protest he immediately, and likely forever, lost the ears of many of those whom he wished to impact.....this concept is the point of this blog.
“Vulnerability Breaks Down Walls While Confrontation Builds them up”
If you want people to listen to you, whether that's in business or your personal life, acting and being vulnerable has greater impact than confrontation. In Mr. Kaepernick's case, he may feel like he is opening the doors to communication, and in some very small circles maybe this is true, but for the most part the people who agree with him already agree with him and are not having their minds changed, while the people who were offended by his actions will not entertain his thoughts as their walls have already been built. Did Kaepernick gain a lot of attention for his actions? Yes, of course. Did Kapernick change a lot of minds? Probably not.
As you are reading this I'd like you to transition to your marriage or significant relationship now......How often do you challenge your wife or husband on issues versus coming to them with a vulnerable heart and an openness to communicate? (FYI, this question also works with kids, friends, and anyone that is important in your life). Or, like Mr. kaepernick, do we come out and confront an issue with defiance, or even worse, anger.
If we want to have impact we MUST come from a place that triggers our spouse to want to listen to us. If we yell or point out flaws or simply do something that shifts the focus away from ourselves we AUTOMATICALLY lose our audience. However, when we come in and communicate through our own emotions in a way that is not attacking we have a chance, a decent chance, to actually have our voices heard and make a difference.