Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Learning to Disagree

In On Being Wrong from Engage Their Minds, the author shares,

“When we are certain we are right, we often make false assumptions about those who disagree.”

Everything is not all black and white and I believe I need to teach my students this concept. Sometimes a decision is based on surrounding circumstances and the individuals involved. We see that happen a lot in courtrooms where a judge makes a decision on a case-to-case basis.

Everyone in my life doesn’t have to agree with me or the things that I believe in. My friends can disagree with me and we can still be friends. I think too many adults show children that only people who agree with them are allowed to be a part of their lives.

I don’t mind having people disagree with me because they might have a different perspective on the situation than I do. I can hear their reasoning why they feel a certain way and I don’t have to agree with them.

My mother used to tell me, “We will have to agree to disagree.” I think she taught me a lot by drumming this in my head. We can agree to disagree and still be friends.

Lately, I have seen adults acting as “it’s my way or the highway!” If you don’t agree with me, then I don’t want you as my friend on social media or in my life.

What a sad commentary on their life! If I only surround myself with people who think like me, am I not losing the chance to have a richer life? Do I want this kind of future for my students?

I think it is important to teach my students to listen to others fully even though they might disagree with them. They need to listen with an open mind and not shut them out by thinking of their own arguments. They need to let the other person share all that they are thinking without interrupting them. If they need to write down the points the other person said so they don’t forget, then make a list. Explain that the notes are there so they don’t interrupt the speaker.

After the other person talks, then the first person can go over the points that they don’t agree with. The second person can repeat the process of listening fully and taking notes if necessary.

If you can’t come to an agreement on a point of view, it is okay. It is okay to have differing opinions. That is what makes the world a better place. The important thing is that people need to listen to each other and stop shutting each other out.

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