People sometimes take for granted that one special unit in a day called lunch.
Lunch hour is normally dedicated to eating or generally taking a break. Some take a nap, some take a walk, and some try to squeeze in errands they keep forgetting to deal with during weekends. Some go to “power lunches” which is mostly a mystery to many: what happens in a power lunch anyway?
Power lunches is, in a way, a form of displaying, exhibiting, or maybe sharing that idea of power. People negotiate over lunches. Executives solve issues, they establish a new set of goals, and more likely than not, they sign away the fates of hundreds or even thousands of people. All these over a plate of rib-eye steak with shaved black truffles and a glass of wine.
Like these “power lunchers”, we, the normal ones, can make a difference during this short period of time. In around an hour, we can redefine what lunches can be other than sharing food and company.
You can actually use your lunch hour to spend it with “the Other”.
In a talk by Elizabeth Lesser, she introduced the idea of taking “the Other” to lunch. “The Other” are those people who we consider different from us. The society is so diverse that the differences have fueled polarities and ignorance. This “diversity” can include differences in political, religious, and even moral views. As Lesser suggested, if you’re a Democrat, take a Republican to lunch, and vice-versa. If you’re Pro-Life, have lunch with someone who is Pro-Choice. If you’re from Team Edward — you get the picture.
Lesser suggested to take someone out to lunch who is accessible to you. It can be your co-worker or your neighbor. This shows an important case in point: the people you like do not necessarily share your views and your thoughts. We are inherently the same the same way we are all inherently different.
The entire point of this talk was to simply demonstrate the need for open-mindedness. After centuries and decades of struggle and conflict, it is amazing to know that mankind has not learned from history. People continue to discriminate and shut down the points of view of those who are considered “unconventional”.
What is interesting with Lesser’s talk is that taking somebody out to lunch is a no-brainer. But taking someone whom you might consider as “the enemy” is a hard task. As Lesser explained, you can initiate the lunch and you can agree on what to talk about. You can talk about each other’s experiences and backgrounds. Of course, it is inevitable to talk about the differences but the important matter is to keep an open mind. You can agree with your future lunch date that both of you should avoid being defensive and aggressive. Just hear each other talk. Learn about the other person and see this other person’s point of view. This lunch date is not about persuasion; it’s about learning, acknowledging, and respecting.
Talking over food is a good way to set an amicable tone. Eating and talking go well together. Since all of us eat anyways, and we all have our different points of view, why not use lunch as a one-hour platform to establish a discourse and not a debate? Who knows — this can be a way to save the world one lunch at a time over a plate of pasta, a side salad, and a delicious apple pie ala mode. Now that’s a real power lunch.