One of the most important ways to grow intellectually (and otherwise) is to actually listen to others and seek to understand them as they intend to be understood. Yet it is all too common for people to understand others in ways that do not reflect the best and most fair interpretation of their intended meaning.
Prepare: Review “Principle of Accuracy and the Principle of Charity” from Chapter 9, along with the required resources from this week.
Reflect: Find specific examples in the media or in life in which someone misunderstands someone else. This happens a lot with political and religious arguments, but it also happens in daily life, especially when we find ourselves in conflict with others. Have you interpreted others uncharitably?
Write: Present a case, either in the media or in your own life, in which someone interpreted another uncharitably. What specifically did the first person say? In what way did the other person understand it? What did the person really mean? Do you think that the misunderstanding was intentional? What were the consequences of the misunderstanding? How might the situation have been better if the person had practiced the principle of charity? Finally, are there areas in which you could do more to understand others favorably? How might you be a wiser person if you did so?