How To Disagree Well

A little while back, I did the exact thing that everyone tells you not to do.

It’s the very thing that everyone warns you about, and thing that could potentially get you banned from any dinner party.

I discussed politics with friends.

The good news? We’re all still friends.

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Joking aside, the discussion actually went quite well—despite the fact that one friend was a Republican, one was a Democrat, and I’m sort of right-in-the-middle. We had differences, no doubt about it. Nonetheless, despite those differences, we each listened to each other. We heard what each person had to say and stated our own thoughts in a kind, respectful manner. At one point, one of my friends even noted that this was how politics in America should be—everyone listening to each other without getting into a shouting match.

Truthfully, the more I think about it, the more I believe that’s how discussions about any important topic should go. Regardless of the issue, people are always more likely to learn when discussing things in a calm, and intelligent manner.

Over the course of my high school career, I learned how to do this. My classmates and I were always encouraged to discuss hot button issues in my classes, but somehow, those discussions never led to a major fight or a fallout. In fact, I believe that we actually grew stronger through those differences—something rare in a world that continues to polarized politically, racially, religiously, and in every other way imaginable. And, thinking about it, I believe there are a couple of key factors that we’ve always utilized, making for meaningful discussion in the midst of differences. 

Factors that I believe, if utilized, might help us become a little better at disagreeing well.

Don’t make snap judgements – One of my biggest pet peeves has always been stereotypes and labels. From the time I was young—they have always bugged me to the core. Mainly, because one—they can be offensive, and two—they can keep us from listening. When we begin to see people as caricatures, we cease to see them as humans, and we stop really listening to them. We assume we already know what they have to say and thus, make an idiot out of ourselves. In order to listen well, we must fully understand what they’re trying to say—without stereotypes or generalizations.

Hear them – Maybe, you don’t agree with what your friend is saying. Maybe you don’t even agree with the majority of what they’re saying. Nonetheless, give their opinion respect and value. Do you agree with the broader point behind what they’re saying? Could parts of what they’re saying make sense in a different context? Never shut someone down simply because they’re coming at something from a different perspective. You could miss out on a really valuable conversation, as well as a really valuable friendship.

Try to understand their point-of-view – As an author, this is something that I do on a regular basis. When I create characters, they aren’t always exactly like me, nor do they always think the way I think. In life, like in a story, it is important to understand the people you’re surrounded by. We didn’t all grow up the same way, and we haven’t all had the same experiences. Take this in consideration as you consider the “why” behind the opinions the other person has.

Treat people as Jesus would – As Christians, we’re given the ultimate role model for interacting with the world at large, as well as those closest to us. In Scripture, Jesus was always respectful to people who came from different contexts than He may have been used to. If we follow His example, treating people with the upmost respect, we can never go wrong.

How about you? Have you ever gotten into a discussion with people who have different viewpoints? How did it go – and how do you believe we can better learn to disagree well? Feel free to share in the comments!

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Mystery Blogger Award

Hey everyone, I have some big news to share! I was just nominated by Dainty M. for the mystery blogger award! Thank you so much for the award Mfon, if you’re reading this!

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The rules to this award are…

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • List the Rules.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  • Answer five questions from the nominee.
  • Nominate anywhere from ten to twenty bloggers.
  • Notify the bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, including one weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post.

This award was first initiated by the wonderful Okoto Enigma and I think it’s a great way to meet other like-minded bloggers and make new friends.

Three Things About Me 

  1. I’ve been out of high school for about a year now.
  2. My best friend also has a blog, which currently has a grand total of one post.
  3. My dream is to become a successful author someday.

Mfon’s Questions 

What’s your favourite season of the year?

Probably winter. It’s very hot in the state I live in, so cold weather always feels like somewhat of a relief. Plus, it’s the season that holds Christmas and Thanksgiving, which makes it twice as awesome.
What’s the one thing you’d do if there was no stopping you?

Hmmm, that’s a toughie. Probably right now, visit New York City and the Christian Passion Conference with a group of friends. I’ve always wanted to take a trip with friends.

Soda or juice?

Juice. I honestly don’t really like the taste of soda.

What’s your idea of fun?

This is probably going to sound sort of geeky, but I love reading and writing. There’s always something magical about escaping into the depths of story.
One piece of advice you would tell your younger self

Trust God. I know this sounds like you’re typical Sunday school answer, but it’s oftentimes easier said than done. Nonetheless, I’ve found with age that God always works things out perfectly in His timing.

New Nominees 

 

Julian

Angela 

Juni Desiree 

Alex

 

Papberry 

Questions 

What is your favorite movie and why?

Tell about an embarrassing childhood moment.

What would you tell your teenage self (if you’re still a teenager, what would you tell your twelve year old self)? 

If you could have any dream come true, what would it be?

Which would you rather be, a penguin or a flamingo? 

 

 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Twenty-Five

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Hey guys, sorry I was absent but I’m back today, and we might just end up finishing this challenge before the day is over! My goal is to finish soon because I have two very special Valentines Day Posts to share with y’all! 

Day Twenty Five – Your Best Vacation Memory 

This may not be my best, but it’s certainly the most interesting! I posted about it in a previous challenge here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing about it!

Some Musings in Joseph’s Shoes

Note: The story below is in no way intended to be an addition of or distortion of the nativity account written in Scripture. This is not meant to be an exact, academic account of Joseph thoughts and feelings—this is simply written as a journal entry of what Joseph may have been feeling and thinking in light of the facts we are given in the Gospels and historical documents. Please do not take this as anything other than speculation as to what it may have been like to be in Joseph’s shoes.

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I can barely believe all that’s been going on lately. It all seems surreal, like something that would happen to some other guy. I knew it was supposed to happen someday—I studied it throughout my schooling, after all—but to me? A simple carpenter, engaged to a nice local girl? 

At first, when she told me, it felt as if someone had stuck a dagger through my chest. “It’s God’s baby.” she had told me. “An angel visited me and told me I would give birth to the Son of Man.” Now, I’ve never been one to doubt God, but this sound a little far fetched—even to me. My initial thought was that she’s been sleeping around, even though she’s never seemed like the type of girl to do such a thing. After all, Mary’s as pure as snow. She would never do something like that—not Mary. 

I knew Mary was a good person, but what was I supposed to think? Even more pressing, what was I supposed to do? I didn’t want her to be stoned—I didn’t want anything to happen to her. I love her—I have even before the marriage was arranged. She had a beautiful heart, I couldn’t be more lucky to be set up with someone like her. 

“What would our life look like together?” I wondered. Holding our heads down as we received dirty looks from the townspeople? Having to desperately try to explain to my friends that we did nothing wrong? Constantly being object of suspicion among the townspeople? I thought that the best thing for both of us would be to divorce her quietly, and draw the least possible amount of suspicion and attention as possible. That is, until I was visited by an angel last night, confirming that everything Mary had said was true. 

Mary was pregnant with the Child prophesied about in Scripture. 

She was telling the truth all along. 

I knew the road ahead would be hard, but after that sign from God, I knew what I had to do. I had to marry her—and be the best father I could be to this Child.

This blessing to us and the world.

Out of every couple throughout the course of history, we were the ones God picked to raise the Savior. I may have no idea what I’m doing—I’ve never been a husband or a father, after all, but I know that Mary and I will figure this out together. We’ll figure it all out together, because we’re a team. From this day forward, Mary and I are going to face the biggest challenge two people could face. 

Raising God’s child through the power of God and for the glory of God. 

As hard as it will be, I knew deep down that there was no greater honor. 

And I’m going to do this thing right.

No matter what the cost. 

 

Some Musings In Mary’s Shoe’s

Note: The story below is in no way intended to be an addition of or distortion of the nativity account written in Scripture. This is not meant to be an exact, academic account of Mary’s thoughts and feelings—this is simply written as a journal entry of what Mary may have been feeling and thinking in light of the facts we are given in the Gospels and historical documents. Please do not take this as anything other than speculation as to what it may have been like to be in Mary’s shoes. 

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I may not have believed it – if I hadn’t seen it so vividly with own eyes. I would say that this is the kind of thing one might expect from a dream, except I’m not sure even a dream could cover the absurdity of this situation. If I told any of my friends, I’m pretty sure they’d think I’ve lost it – and that’s the best-case-scenario.

I mean, virgins don’t get pregnant. They just don’t. And they certainly don’t get pregnant with the Awaited One —the man my entire country has waited centuries for. Why would God choose me of all of the girls in the world to carry His Son? What makes Him think that I’m fit for something so great? 

I’m just your average girl on the brink of adulthood (But don’t get me started on that). I laugh too loud when I’m nervous and sometimes I cry from joy rather than sadness. I grew up in a humble little town where literally nothing ever happens and I’ve had the same neighbors since birth.  Nazareth isn’t a place that’s big or flashy or important, it’s a small town — a town where everyone knows everyone else.* It’s not the kind of place that would bare someone so important. It’s not the kind of town where an ordinary girl becomes the mother to her Savior. 

Juse writing those words sends chills up my spine. Somehow, writing things like this down make them seem more real, more concrete. This is really happening — I’m really going to become pregnant with a child who is, as the angel put it, “The Son of God”*. 

I want to be happy about this — I really do. I am for the most part. But the other part of me is scared, terrified even. How will my parents react to this—their clean-cut daughter becoming pregnant without being married? How will my friends react—will they even talk to me any more? And what about Joseph? He’s bound to think that I’ve been unfaithful, there’s no other way of interpreting this kind of thing. I know I did nothing wrong, but I’m not sure anyone else will believe me. There’s a very real chance that I could even be killed for something like this. But even if that doesn’t happen, the public shame that’s certain to come will be a certain death in itself. Just yesterday, the only big event that I had in my near future  was the upcoming wedding. Now, not only will I soon be a wife, I’ll be a mom too. 

It’s all just happening so fast. I like Joseph, I really do! He’s a great guy who lives his whole life for the Lord. He’s a hard worker and a kind, sensitive soul. But I just wish there was a little more time – more of a chance to get to know him before marrying him. 

There’s so much I wish he knew about me. Like, how I draw in the sand to make sense of life around me. Or how sometimes, once everyone has gone to sleep, I climb up the old olive tree outside my house and wonder what’s out there, outside of my hometown. Or how often, when I’m tending to the animals, I wonder how aware they are of life around them.

And I want to know about him too – what he does when he’s not studying or working with his father…where he sees our life going in the future…what his favorite pastime is..the secrets that he’s never told anyone. I just feel like you should know these things about a person who you know is going to be so significant in your life. 

I wish I could talk to him about these sort of things, but I have a feeling that he wouldn’t understand. Joseph has always been quick to accept others’ expectations of him. He’s responsible, level headed, and never seems to to be jilted by anything. Well, up until now, that is. How he’ll respond to this situation is anyone’s guess. 

This pregnancy is about to change everything. My life will never look the same again. Never again will I be a young child—I’m about to have a child. But, do you want to know the craziest thing about all of this? Somewhere, deep down, I still have a certain peace. If everything is as the angel says it is, than the Lord is with me in very real way. He has His hand on this and what’s about to happen is all for His glory. It’s about Him. 

It always has been. 

It always will be. 

*Luke 1:32 

*www.jesus-story.net 

 

 

 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge: Day 28

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Day 28…My most embarrassing moment 

I think that nearly every teenager/young adult has a couple of these in their rearview  mirror. I could honestly think of a few situations just off the top of my head. Nonetheless, for the sake of this post, I’ve narrowed it down to a situation that happened to me during sophomore year.

During my 10th grade year, I joined the yearbook staff. Thankfully, I soon found that most of the other students were really nice and I began talking with one of the guys in the group. We became friends pretty quickly, and talked about everything from movies to school. Nonetheless, we eventually got to a point where we were running out of topics

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you may remember that I’m horrible at small talk. I was grasping for literally anything to talk about, so I asked the lamest question in the book: “What’s you’re favorite color?” 

I knew the question was pathetic, but I didn’t think there was anything problematic about the question.

I was dead wrong. To this day, I still remember his reply.

I’m colorblind.

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I had just asked a person who was colorblind their favorite color.

I’m pretty sure I apologized about twenty times after that.

To make matters worse, I remembered after the fact that he had already told me about that a couple of days ago, but in that moment, it had completely slipped my mind.

Thankfully, he was cool about it, and we’re still friends to this day. But, at the time, it was pretty awkward.

I suppose it’s moments like this that serve as a good reminder of our humanness. It’s amazing how many awkward situations we can manage to find (or put) ourselves in. I know I’ve had my fair share of “awkward moments”

 

How about you? Have you ever found yourself in an awkward/embarrassing situation? If so, how did you react? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below.