June 11, 2012 by Melissa
I’ve been trying to figure out how to discuss politics or any issues with a variety of viewpoints in my house. Like almost every American, there are a lot of issues my husband and I are passionate about but I don’t want our girls to think that ours is the only opinion. I want them to be comfortable discussing and debating issues without it turning into a grudge match of name calling or each person trying to win the argument. I want them to know and to remember that every person has a story-a place they grew up in, a family that surrounded them (in good ways or bad), schools they went to, churches they attended, numerous experiences that have helped shape who they are and what they think about their world. And those views may be deep and meaningful. I want to teach the girls to be respectful of that.
Like a lot of people, when discussing hot-button topics in this house, we may sound angry or sarcastic (a passive aggressive form of anger that I’m really good at). Do I want Lucy or Alice to echo that in the world? It may make others feel insecure, upset, or, worse, angry. I want them to be better than that. I’ve decided recently not to talk politics to people with very rare exception. There are a few people I still feel I can discuss the issues with as there has always been a mutual level of respect given, regardless of views. Surprisingly, a lot of those people in my life are friends that I’ve had since high school or college. It’s possible that they know me well enough not to let my opinion interfere with their view of me. It happens all too often that if you make a new friend and then find out they have different views than you that it starts to color your view of them in other matters, or vice versa. That sucks and I have to be on guard against it all the time. I don’t think I’m alone in that matter. After all, I think there are a few things that we all want-we want to provide for ourselves and our kids, we want to be and feel safe, we want the world to treat us fairly, and we want to be heard, if the need arises.
It’s a tough challenge for myself and my husband. This is what the world feels like right now-divided, angry, hopeless, uncompromising. What must our children think of us? Compromise is the basis of any household, especially one with children, and our leaders and pundits don’t want to or can’t do it. So I’m formulating ways to let my children know why others may have other ideas about the world and that it’s their job to remember that and honor it. Isn’t it? How do you handle this in your house?