You don’t have to agree with me… in fact I may prefer if you don’t!

I was very lucky growing up. Almost every Saturday around 3pm we (my Mum, Dad, Sister and I) would walk the 5 minutes walk to my Aunt and Uncles house where we would have a lovely relaxed meal and the adults would sink a few bottles of wine. The get together would usually end in the early hours of the next morning, and usually after a selection of whiskeys had been trailed by my Dad and my Uncle.

Usually while the adults talked, my Sister, my Cousin and I would play games upstairs. However as we got older we started opting to stay downstairs where I would listen with fascination as two of my heroes would sit and debate…. well…… anything. Politics, religion, history, nothing was taboo, no topic was off limits.

I would sit and listen to them discuss the various view points and I loved it. Anyone was able to join in, and I know I would sit waiting for the conversation to shift from “how Great Aunt Maud was” to whether God created the Universe”.

Of course it wasn’t just my Dad and Uncle joining in, but my Mum and Aunt would voice their opinions and on occasions I would sit and listen to my parents arguing different points of view. Of course we (my Sister, Cousin and I) were encouraged to join in if we wanted to and on occasions I would even come down on the other side of the fence to my parents.

To me, open discussion, disagreement and this kind of debate was normal.

I can still remember being amazed the first time I realised that this may not be the norm.

My Dad and I were both on the church counsel for a while and on one occasion my Dad was very much against the decision being made by the counsel. My Dad and this lady both fell at opposite sides of the fence, and both weren’t willing to budge on their opinion. In the end it went to a vote, and the counsel went with the lady. After the meeting had finished, the lady approached my Dad to apologise for her difference of opinion and ask if they were still friends – but this wasn’t a ‘jokey’ are we still friends. The grown up in front of me was convinced that my Dad would stop being her friend purely because she didn’t agree with his opinion.

Having been brought up around debate and seeing people who love each other disagree I couldn’t believe that this person genuinely believed that in having a difference of opinion a friendship could be ruined.

I have a few older friends who say I seem very grown up for my age, and I think that a lot of this is due to my parents and the manners in which I was brought up. I have been brought up to vote (with my Dad encouraging me to spoil my vote rather than just not bother) and I have been brought up to enjoy a healthy debate. So long as the debate is respectful I have no problem with you disagreeing with anything I say or think. Religion, Politics, Sexual Preferences, War, Dog Training, the Zombie Uprising… I am happy to and would welcome the chance to discuss any of these topics with you.

There is nothing I love more than a good debate.

Looking back, I can now see how lucky I was that I have been raised in this manner. That I will stand up and speak my mind when so many other people may not. Being able and willing to discuss anything with anyone is liberating and something I would encourage more people to do; being able to debate, argue, reason and evolve is such an important life skill.

That’s why I love receiving comments on my blog. That’s why I invite you to honestly tell me what you think about anything I put on here. Don’t think “I don’t agree so I can’t comment” I don’t expect you will always agree with me, in fact I welcome when you don’t!

I hope this space will become a place where people can debate and put across their point of view.

 

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11 thoughts on “You don’t have to agree with me… in fact I may prefer if you don’t!

  1. Debate is healthy and one can always agree to disagree if no common ground is found. Lucky for your your family taught you such a valuable thing. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. I’m the opposite, certain members of my family just used to get really upset if anyone disagreed with them and so I learned to just shut up, or be in for a real fight that would indeed end in ill feeling.while as an adult I have gained confidence to speak out, it still feels a bit outside of my comfort zone, though I am always happy to help someone else get their voice heard. Debate by proxy?

    • by proxy? I know I should know what that means but I’m searching in the depths of my memory and I can’t remember! Help? and then I will try for a witty or insightful response 🙂

  3. I wish everyone had been brought up that way. When we have family gatherings, religion and politics are taboo topics. And it is because people get so worked up about their opinions on these topics that things get ugly. There are a lot of political ads on TV right now because voting time is coming up and I hate it because the ads are mostly about the politicians continuously badmouthing the other. Can they just state their opinions without pointing out how wrong the other party is?

    • Well that would be far too grown up!! Generally I can cope with most topics – religion, politics.. the only way you will get me fired up is if you tell me my beliefs are stupid. You don’t have to agree with me, but if you ridicule that will piss me off!

  4. You my dear are very LUCKY. I was not brought up this way and so feel very uncomfortable when my opinion is different than someone elses. (In person of course, on my blog I just don’t care.) I wish we’d been brought up learning how to express ourselves without getting angry or feeling bad about it. I’m trying, I really am but disagreement is still not comfortable for me.

    • I know. My folks rock!! Unfortunately following the years of bullying I have become less confident in standing my ground and arguing against people who I see as ‘superiors’ but in a conversation with friends or people who’s opinions don’t matter (as in not my boss so could fire me) then I am happy to debate anything!!

  5. I am so happy to find someone (you!) who doesn’t see a difference of opinion as a horrible experience. I feel like we are so immersed in our own ideas that many times we lose out on listening to other people’s ideas. What a loss for all of us! I’m also happy to find your blog and look forward to more. Thanks.

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