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How to Deal With Alternative Opinions

>> Wednesday, May 25, 2011

First things first. Here’s a quick shout out to Peejers (aka Patty Wysong) for “lighting a fire under the rear end” of many bloggers out there. Her meme A 2 Z 4 U & Me officially began this week, with the aim of posting one blog per week until we’ve covered all the letters of the alphabet. Thanks for the alpha-inspiration, Peej!

And away we go with the letter A

My mind works in mysterious ways. So after disregarding blogs that discussed Astilbes (a flower I recently re-discovered in my garden), alliteration (one of my fav wordy bits) and ankles (don’t ask), my brain waves have settled on “a” topic. (And the ending of that sentence officially proves that grammar humour is indeed unfunny.)

Alternative opinions are all around us. (Bang! There’s some alliteration thrown in at the gates for you.) And since we cannot avoid them, how does one deal with these alternative viewpoints with grace, intelligence and politeness?

Oh, I know all about how to deal with them in unhealthy ways (cackling, growling, lifted eyebrows, patronizing glare, walking away… and that’s just how I deal with my husband when his opinions differ from mine.) What I would like to know is how I can deal with them in a spiritual way.

What would the Lord have me do with Alternative Opinions?

For the storytellers and visual folk out there, here’s a scenario.

I recently had a discussion with a friend that grew somewhat heated. We had a difference of opinion that I felt rather strongly about and it ended in what can only be termed a stalemate. While I won’t get into what we discussed (just in case you, gentle reader, do not agree with me), I will say that it had to do with what my normally wise, level-headed friend labeled “ethics.”

She considered a certain situation unethical, whereas I felt that it was somewhat subjective. Since it also happens to be a situation I find myself in nearly every day, calling it unethical seemed… wrong. Have I been fooling myself for the last 15 years? Am I actually participating in something that is dishonourable? Potentially corrupt? Even disreputable? She seemed to think so.

You can imagine that my back was up in a very big way.

After a few hours I was able to think more clearly about my friend’s viewpoint. And while I still disagree with her sweeping statement, I see where she’s coming from and can appreciate her opinion. I can also appreciate the fact that I likely did NOT handle that conversation correctly at the time.

How do you deal with alternative opinions? Any tips? How do I properly equip my children to handle these situations as they head off into higher levels of public education and face umpteem alternatives?

Are there situations where alternative opinions can actually help?

Boy, I may end up with more questions that I bargained for with this meme. But hopefully as we move through the alphabet my hormonal and scattered brain will also settle on other, less inquiry-raising topics.

One last question – when we get to “C” how will I ever choose between coffee and chocolate???

Hoping We Can All Just Agree,

thanks to sxc/bigevil600 for the arm wrestling pic and sxc/quil for the Opinion column image


Joanne Sher May 26, 2011 at 6:36 AM  

Sorry. I HAVE TO ask about ankles. Probably only because you told me not to.

Great post. And, of course, I don't have an answer - other than to be civil (which I'm sure you were) and if it isn't a huge issue, just drop it.

Patty Wysong May 26, 2011 at 7:50 AM  

Yup, I wanna know about the ankles too! You cannot just say something like that and then drop it!! That's... oh never mind, it might be an Alternative opinion and we're agreeing here!! =] =]

SO glad you joined the fun!! =]

Shelley Ledfors May 26, 2011 at 9:36 AM  

Haven't you learned by now that when you say "don't ask" that's just what everyone wants to know? (Unless you really *wanted* us to ask about ankles...hmmm. Maybe the discussion was about the ethics of showing one's ankles? Or whether or not to get an ankle tattoo?) Okay, enough silliness. Thanks for a thought provoking post. I don't have answers, but you raised some good questions I'll be thinking about!

BethL May 26, 2011 at 9:39 PM  

I enjoyed your post, Di! I vote for coffee (when you get to "C" !

Lisa Mikitarian June 3, 2011 at 5:03 AM  

What? You think I answer these kinds of questions for free??? And without Maddie? No. Way. But I, too, would love to know about ankles and some details about the alternating opinions. Somehow I feel certain that I'd take your side;).

Love your writing voice, Di.

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