Wednesday, February 21, 2018


“How do you disagree? Do you express your disagreement with the person’s actions but affirm that you care about the person? Or, do you defend your opinion so profoundly that you leave the person feeling that you only love them if they agree with you?”

When I was growing up, my parents did not argue in front of us. I never saw them have a disagreement. So, when I got married, I had a problem arguing with my husband when we disagreed. I saw arguments as a sign that something must be wrong with my marriage, so I didn’t argue and figuratively set all my problems in a closet. Then one day, I couldn’t take it anymore and the closet opened. I let my husband know I was unhappy with his action from two years ago! He was shocked. Finally, I learned that I couldn’t achieve any results if I waited that long and we needed to argue to work things out. Now, 36 years later, my husband thinks I do this way too well!

I also feel that I don’t have to agree all of the time with my friends. If they are my true friends, they will like me even if I don’t agree with them on certain things. I know that many of my friends have different political views than I do and they feel as strongly as I do so why argue about it. I know that I can’t change their view and I know they can’t change mine. So, when we get together, we avoid that topic. There are so many other things that we do agree on that I don’t let the things we don’t shape our friendship.

I think many students have trouble with this idea. Many students have not reached this stage in development where they can do this, but I think it is important to be an example for them and keep sharing this. I see students thinking they have to agree with everyone or they won’t be like. They think that they won’t be part of the group if they don’t agree with everyone. It is important to teach students to think for themselves and not have the “crowd mentality.”

I think a great activity would be to role play how to disagree. Have students come up with real situations that a student might face and role play how to handle the disagreement. This is like having a fire drill and being ready in case an emergency comes up. If students can practice what they will say before something happens, they can be prepared.

How do you teach students to handle disagreements? Please share.

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