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Apr 01

Tip of the Week: Have Substantive Conversations

I don’t know about you, but as for me I rarely hear any conservations of substance anymore.  I hear lots of conversations about the latest television shows, sporting events, local or national gossip, and those things are not horrible by any means but they just do not stimulate the mind like a substantive conversation can.  I wonder if it is because we are so worried that we might offend the other person or living in the technology age we have lost the ability to talk deeply without the aid of machines.

I have mentioned this before, but one of the time wasting things that I like to do is check out the comments of news or sports articles that I am reading and invariably it seems a few comments somebody is insulting somebody else and there is no real substance to their comments.  It always seems to boil down to vile name calling and my side is right and your side is wrong no matter if a few years ago my side was doing it then and you hated it but now yours side is doing it so you love it type of discussion that led to nothing but a waste of time.  It seems that the human race on the internet has stopped maturing around the third grade except they think they are order because they can call each other stupid using adult themes and words.  Like I told my students, have you ever been in a debate with somebody and said to them “oh I totally agree with your side now because you called me names when presenting your facts.”

One of the things that I have come to enjoy this school year is that a few times a month, sometimes more, a fellow teacher and I have a very substantive discussions on various topics usually current events in the political realm.  Now he is left of center and I would consider myself center right and though we do not see eye to eye on every topic we have good lively debates.  We never breakdown and call each other names, get mad, or play the race card.  I listen to his point of view and he listens to mine.  We ask questions to see why we believe certain ways and move on and shocking as it might sound in today’s politically charged divide we find our nation in, we more often than not usually end up agreeing on most things.   On those few times we have not seen eye to eye we respect each other enough to leave it at that.

After the conversation I feel better, kind of like I do when I have been exercising.  It feels good to have a substantive conversation like my brain has just done a workout.  Every now and then it is good to challenge yourself and to know that when the time comes you are able to calmly give your views offer counterpoints and not have to devolve into senseless rhetoric or name calling.  Now only if our national leaders, pundits, and internet commentators could do the same thing.

So try having a substantive conversation this week on a topic of note.  Give your brain a little exercise now and again I am sure it will help you stay a little bit more informed and who knows you might change some minds in the process or have your view broadened.

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1 comment

  1. Cecilia

    You nailed it most people don’t talk about real stuff but chose to talk about those things that seem safe like the weather or sport. However, after spending some time in an elevator with a Missouri fan I learned that sports is not such a safe topic.

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