I am blessed with a circle of wonderful family and friends, oddly enough many of them have a belief system that is (on the finer points) polar opposite to mine. When I was younger it was easier.. I was supposed to be, expected to be.. out spoken and passionate about my beliefs! Forgiven if I was head strong and slightly belligerent in what I believed in because I was “young” and I would learn as time went on not only the full picture of what drove my beliefs but also perhaps a better way of presenting my views.
So, time presses on.. here I am at the other side. I have wonderful kids both teens and younger in my life who are passionate about their beliefs, as I am still today about mine. Here’s the quandary.. Many of these beliefs are far more conservative than mine! What?!? I know.. I though it was supposed to be the other way around to. It is pretty dangerous territory when the “child’s” beliefs are more conservative than the adults! I pondered.. and pondered.. and pondered.. I have wanted to say something.. to stand up and say.. hmmmm say what.. your wrong? In my soul that might be what I believe but age has taught me that it’s not always the best approach for the results you might want.
Outside of the superficial “I am right.. because I am right!” what is it that I do want? The pondering has brought me to this, I want people (kids and adults alike) to get the full story. Go outside of your faith, outside of your circle of friends, outside of your comfort zone, get facts and look at them like a scientist. People are bias. We can’t help it! Recognize that on both sides of the story. If the issue is important enough to you, pretend you are in a debate club and you have to fight both sides of the issue with the same passion and research. After that see where you sit on the issue. You might be in the same space, you might not be, but you will be more sensitive and wiser to the other side of the story and that is what will make the world a better place because that growth will make you a better person. We forget that our words have impact young and old, and those words can hurt someone far worse than we ever imagine, that shouldn’t quash what anyone has to say but it should effect how it is said.
I truly wish that the youth in my circle and the world will learn that lesson sooner than I did, because it truly makes a difference. I think I had to learn it because of my job, I do believe that I have a responsibility every time I turn on that microphone to think of every ear and heart that is tuned in.. sometimes I have to make a judgement call and know that I will impact someone adversely but I do try to stay within the parameters that my audience expects. In life, I find it harder. Very very few people get the unguarded Susan opinion (my sister is now rolling her eyes and laughing - stop it Cath!) but it’s true, someone has to know you and trust you very very very much to handle opinion, emotion and views unchecked.
Basically, just make sure that you truly understand all sides of the story not just the facts but also the compassion. You do have an impact - use that power for good!