Sunday, January 17, 2010
Opinions. Everyone’s got them. This week Jen over at Sprite’s Keeper has us spinning them.
Opinions are a substantial staple of an English classroom and literature discussion. I ask my students three things.
One. Support your opinions. Be prepared to defend your opinions.
Two. Be respectful of others’ opinions. We call it discussion for a reason. Debate is something else, and even then it is not OK to say “that’s so gay.”
Three. Have an open mind. “Have an open mind” is actually in the ground rules for class discussion, listed in each sub section for a total of four times. I work on widening their perspectives all year long and I feel very fortunate to be able to teach To Kill a Mockingbird in 10th grade, as Atticus is the definitive example of being able to “step into someone else’s skin.” Those moments when I see that little light bulb go on over a teen’s head and, even if they don’t agree with someone else’s opinion, at least they understand where it comes from - those moments make the rest (like crap pay turned crappier with 17 furlough days this year) mostly worth it.
In my personal life, opinions have often been a source of angst. I come from a very opinionated family who are mostly better talkers than listeners. Growing up, everyone was intense about getting their opinions on the table and chopping off the heads (talking louder, interrupting, and making fun) of those who disagreed. A sensitive child, a middle child, I learned to keep my opinions to myself and tuned out the world around me.
Playing ostrich rarely works out. The issues one is meant to deal with seem to come back around and bite you in the ass. And so it is that in my later adult life I have come face to face with my problem of dealing with other people’s unasked for and unsavory opinions.
In my circle of friends most of us did not marry nor have children until our later twenties or our thirties. We spent most of our twenties whopping it up and bonding. We had a lot of fun.
Then, as we all became mothers, I noticed a couple of my friends were extremely opinionated in how other people raised their children. They had no problem telling me what was wrong with my kids and how they thought hubs and I should be dealing with it.
It leaves me speechless when one of my friends offers unasked for advice and gives not so nice opinions about my children or how we raise them.
I find myself avoiding them.
But. Lately. I have a fantasy. Of flinging the poo right back in the other direction like a monkey in a zoo.
If I ever get the nerve, I’ll let you know how it all works out.
For more spins on opinions, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.