Agree to Disagree

sayin

Growing up my sister and I had different views on almost everything.  Most notably, whether or not I gave her permission to “borrow” my clothes {for the record, I didn’t}, whether or not I was cool {for the record, I totes was and still am}, and whether or not I should drive her to college parties when she was 14 {I was a staunch supporter of “no”}.

As many sisters can attest, we didn’t always see eye-to-eye.  And for reasons other than me being 5’2” and she 5’8”.

It strikes me how 2 people who grow up in the same house, under similar situations, can have such different outlooks.  Our views on politics, our own lifestyles, even our parenting styles are different.

Now that I’m grown I recognize that that’s ok.  Us living differently doesn’t mean we can’t respect each other’s differences.  It doesn’t mean we can’t love each other.  I just wish I’d realized it sooner.

Most of our arguments could have easily been settled if I had just stopped trying to force her to see things from my point of view.  I had to be RIGHT.  I WAS right.  If she would just shut up and listen she would hear the brilliance in my words!  No?  Fine!  I’ll smack them into her! Oh, right.  She’s bigger than me.  Oops.

It should be illegal to be so wrong.

Wait…

Looking back, I see that I was wrong.  Most of the time I was trying to be her mom.  She already had one.  She needed a friend and a sister, not another mom.

Even as an adult I still catch that tendency of trying to force others to see things my way.

{Ugh, how stupid can someone be???}

But without opposing views we would live in a boring, vanilla world.  If we were all the same there would be no excitement, no passion, no change.

I try to correct that for my family now.  I try to teach my kids to respect everyone’s differences.

In the last presidential election my daughter came home raving about how she hopes Obama would be reelected because he was the BEST.  SHE WAS FOUR!

Obviously, at the age of 4 she was repeating what she had heard in pre-K.  I used my super-human powers of deduction to ascertain the source of her statement.  I asked why she hoped he would win.  And she proudly stated that her teacher told her he’s the best.

It infuriated me.  I felt like someone tried to indoctrinate my impressionable child!  I explained to her quickly but delicately that she needs to form her own opinions and not just repeat what she hears.

I’m sure there are people out there who would say I was wrong for the way I handled it, but they can bite me.

My children will know that they can have any opinion they want as long as it is formed with intelligent reasoning.

Don’t ever follow the crowd because the crowd said you should.  Know where the crowd is going.  Who belongs to the crowd?  Why do they belong to the crowd?  What appeals to you about the crowd?

You want to follow a leader?  Fine.  But watch the leader’s movements.  Listen to the leader’s words.  Find the meaning in those words.  Don’t listen to promises, watch for action.  Research the leader’s track record.

Blind faith and broken promises are a disease.  It’s a disease that infects life at every level.  Politics, religion, marriage, friendships…

I fell victim to this in the past.  I don’t want my kids to do the same.

{Um, you just said that you love me but I just found a naked pic of some whoooore on our computer… I don’t understand.}

As an analyst for several years it was my job to look at data and interpret meaning.  If a department had a large number of employees who left, why did they leave?  Was the manager ineffective?  Was the workload too much?  Was the pay too low?

Once I could answer questions I could formulate a solution.  But that solution couldn’t be formulated with speculation.  You could totally miss the mark and risk solving a problem that never even existed.  Then you’re still stuck with the original problem plus wasted time and money.

I couldn’t simply say, “Well Joe’s department had a 90% turnover rate last year.  Joe IS an a-hole because he doesn’t clean out the microwave after he heats up his leftover fish.  So that must be why.  Let’s fire Joe.”  Joe’s people may really respect him as a leader.  It could be that his people left because the company itself sucks.

It seems that a lot of people lash out with emotional responses to opinions that offend them.  That’s where trouble starts.

Let’s look at some situations that I’ve dealt with recently:

Sometimes Bella comes downstairs ready to start her day and she knows she looks good.  Supporting evidence:

She has on a dress.  She’s fixed her own hair.  She has on her new sassy sandals.

Her mom and dad are super quick to tell her she looks ah-may-zing.  She already knows.  Just for reinforcement, she asks her little brother.

“Roman, does sissy look beautiful?”

At this point, Roman has just turned 4.  We all hold our breath because, let’s face it, it’s a crap shoot.  It could go well with a “YES!  Bella, you look so pretty!” or it could spiral down a dark hole of broken dreams and hurt feelings with a, “NOH!”

If he decides to disagree, it’s not because he genuinely feels that Bella isn’t pretty.  He just feels like disagreeing.

Bella’s knee-jerk reaction is to deflate and crumble into a heap of sobbing defeat while yelling at Roman for being horrible.  Then Roman yells back.  In the words of Charles Barkley, it’s vurry turrible.

But we’ve worked with her to understand the situation.

It’s up to Bella to recognize the source of the comment, understand that she still looks just as beautiful as she did before his answer, and let it go.  He is arguing for the sake of arguing.

Is Roman right?  No.  But the more you argue with him the stronger he will stand in defiance.

BECAUSE HE IS FOUR!

Roman LOVES mac-n-cheese.  Its cheesy goodness trumps anything else in the food department for him.  To him, macaroni and cheese represents a delicious meal.  Bella hates it. To Bella macaroni and cheese stands for gross.

Which child is right? Hmmm… that’s a head scratcher.

Starting about 2 years ago, Bella’s after-school-ritual was to get in the car after daycare and ask Roman a “this or that” question.  For example:

“Roman, who do you love more, me or Ms. Celina?”

She would then question his answer regardless of his response.

“WHAT???  YOU DON’T LOVE MS CELINA????”

It took months for me to get through to her that her questions weren’t fair.  She was trapping him.  She wasn’t doing it on purpose; as a 5 year old she was just doing her thing.  But, he wasn’t old enough to understand what she was asking.

What’s sad is that some adults react the same way!  The media reacts the same way!  Leaders react the same way!  STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If someone lives differently than you do and it goes against every core belief you have, who cares???  Leave them to live in peace and they’ll likely do the same for you.

If someone is suspected of a crime, let them be convicted before you convict them in the court of popular opinion based on the way you edit a story and ruin lives in the process.

So, how about this:

Instead of getting offended by everything and reacting emotionally, how about we consider the source of the offense, excuse that person for having a misinformed opinion (from your standpoint at least) and go about conducting life in a way that would change their opinion with constructive action…

Who knows, maybe you’re both wrong, or both right or maybe… wait for it… maybe you’re wrong.  People are entitled to whatever dumbass opinion they want to have.  As long as it doesn’t physically affect you, feel sorry for them and move on.

After all, we know we look good so nothing else matters.

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