I have an opinion. Lots of them, in fact. I’m partial to sharing them occasionally…and sometimes while I respect another person’s decision not to agree with me, I *gasp* don’t always respect their decision. In fact, sometimes I think that another persons decision is wrong.
Telling your child that they are stupid and worthless? Nope, don’t respect that. Actually think that’s bad parenting. Yep, I said it bad parenting.
Feeding your baby coke? Let’s throw that into the bag of bad parenting too.
Cheating on your spouse? I feel pretty strongly about that too – human relationships are complex but cheating is such a betrayal. I don’t respect that decision, I don’t see it as a valid “I say potato you say potato” situation.
There are other things that I think that I’ll keep to myself, for while they are opinions I hold to strongly I’m mindful of the diversity of human nature and experience and am not arrogant enough to blithely dismiss another’s for the sake of making a point in this post. Which is really what’s at the crux of the idea; that some people don’t care about the validity of another’s opinion and will roll right over it with a monster truck of a mouth. I know, I’ve been there. Regretfully, on both sides.
But the fact that some people are idiots and others make mistakes doesn’t mean we should reduce the argument to “we all have to respect each other’s choices 100% of the time”.
A value that says we need let each other do what’s best for us actually impinges on that very same thing – in my opinion there are some values that are more important that respect. More that that, it’s a truly adult centric and individualistic view of the world; “do what’s best for you” doesn’t leave space for the other half of the picture – be they a child, a partner or passing bystander.
When you live your life just doing what’s best for you, people get hurt. Even to broaden it slightly and say “do what’s best for your family” is to suggest that somehow we live in a vacuum, where the decisions we make within our families don’t impact on other people and their families. Though of course, they do.
The more we embrace a philosophy that keeps the focus on ourselves and not on the broader family and communities that we are part of the more isolated we allow ourselves to become.
That’s not a world I want to live in.
I’m uncomfortable with a mantra that says “you do what you do and I’ll do what’s do”. It doesn’t allow for real reflection and discourse about the big issues of our time and yes, some of these issues are deeply personal and uncomfortable to talk about. Yes, sometimes we will feel judged and angry and sometimes we will be judged and angry. We will naturally react in defense of our choices, but hopefully we’ll also reflect on them.
Not talking is worse, so much worse. Isn’t that why we blog? And why we read blogs? The minute bloggers buy into the idea that we all have to smile and nod and not say what we think, not say things that are hard and awkward and controversial – not just for the sake of it, but in pursuit of real dialogue…we lose one of the most precious aspects of blogging and the blogosphere.
I’m not ok with that.
So let’s not agree to disagree, let’s talk it out – respectfully, honestly and humbly, together.
Do you shy away from saying what you really think in the pursuit of “togetherness” or do you think a bit of diversity is a good thing?