Category: Debate

Reasonable Conversations

Do you find it challenging to have conversations with others? When I say challenging, do they start friendly, and before you know it escalates into an argument, disagreement, or worse? I can expect it maybe at holidays when all of the family crowds into small places and everyone is stressed, but not on a day-to-day basis.

It seems impossible to have a “reasonable” conversation in today’s society. Everyone has a strong opinion on many hot topics like the police, education, Covid-19, vaccinations, safety, racism, and patriotism. It does not matter what platform you select to use to bring up questions, talk about a news item from TV or newspaper, or mention one of the heated topics, and dialogue shuts down.

I have always encouraged others to ask questions, but I admit I am guilty when I feel strongly about a topic and the passion for defending my position. So what is the difference now?

We are no longer having discussions with all sides having the opportunity to provide their points of view and the other to do the same. We need to listen to the facts, gather the truth, restate the accurate findings to reach an agreement. Right now, emotions drive the conversations with no “reasonable” solution to the conversation as the frustration sets in and insults begin. In the “cancel culture” parts of society has created, it is worse than any bullying interventions I have mediated. In just one click, a message is sent, received, and shared by thousands targeting one individual with a label to crush them.

How will you help staff and students navigate through difficult conversations? Do we have debates anymore with content we can fact check for truth and not just opinions? Where do you check for facts and information? Do students know how to research for facts? Are we teaching how to have debates and to discuss different points of view?

We have been fighting bullying for decades in our society. I have lost a former student who moved to a different school to suicide over bullying. I am looking at these conversations through the lens of students growing in this society and how to manage all of this and wonder what we can do to help. Who has the power to change the conversation tones in our communities? I will start with me, and you start with you and maybe will reach the who that makes the change. It is a ripple effect, I believe. If we continue to say something, repeat it over and over, it becomes part of what we believe and think. I know this is true because, sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes______ ______. You finished it because it was part of a marketing campaign. “Just do it” you know this one as well! “Its the real thing.”

Thank you for being the solution daily where one voice, one ear, and one heart make a difference today.

Let’s Debate

Do we see debates over issues? A debate is a discussion of opposing sides of a specific topic, subject, or issue. An example would be a discussion of the pros and cons of reopening schools after Covid-19. I think I have seen some…. At least they resemble debates.

We most likely would see debates in our legislative branches of government. Have you witnessed debates? I have listened carefully since engaging in researching this topic. We are looking for specific elements in each person pleading their reasoning for their point.

I believe one of the critical skills and elements needed to help children succeed in the future is being able to have essential conversations to debate their points successfully.

The emphasis on teaching children how to protest is misdirected, in my opinion. A focus on how to convince others of the position they have by making points grounded in evidence of value is where the teaching should be focused. Critical thinking skills, knowledge, and strong communication skills will serve all of us in the future with positive outcomes.

Hugo Mercier, in the following TED-Ed clip, explains how an argument can be more convincing when it contains these elements:

  • A good knowledge of your audience you are speaking to.
  • What are the beliefs of the audience?
  • Who and what the audience trusts?
  • What are the values of the audience?

These elements seem like a simple recipe for success. Understanding the audience’s beliefs, trusted sources, and values of others are not always easy for us. As we face an issue, problem or challenge, we do not go first to what we have learned about our audience; instead, we go to our own.

A recipe for success in facing a problem in need of solutions is always to listen first. We hear with more than our ears. To meet issues with debate, reasoning, and convincing rebuttals, we need to embrace all views. Our minds must be open to debate to appreciate and comprehend points different than our set of facts. We have to accept others’ points made convincingly as right and concede when our points are proven wrong.

Every voice has the right to be heard. Actions speak louder than words is often a statement made in high-tempered issues. These actions in no way have ever meant to cause suffering on others, violence, or prevent others from the freedoms granted in this country. Actions moved by the words of others should be in having positive outcomes in the efforts of change. An example would be:

“Today, the sun begins to rise for a new day. It is a chance for each of us to show a new way. To bring to the surface more issues to praise. The life we live changes with every season. Unexpected issues, diseases, challenges, and problems come with no reason. It is our actions, words, and true messages we send out that conveys-The point we try to make.”~Brenda Yoho

Please watch the TED link shared. It is an excellent segment to view. You can find more features to consider as you lead changes and growth in your field. Today is a great day to learn, reflect and lead. Thank you for being part of the solution daily!