Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Importance of Accepting Different Perspectives

We all see things differently. That's something I continue to learn as an educator and in every other area of life too. I used to get upset if someone expressed an idea I didn't agree with. It would frustrate me to no end if they took a position that seemed unreasonable to me. 

But I've learned that another person's perspective is something they have ownership over, not me. And my job is to listen and try to understand where they're coming from.

And maybe, if they're an open minded person, just maybe they'll be interested in my perspective too.

But be careful. Beware of the person who sets himself up as an authority. Beware of the person who believes he has cornered the truth. Beware of the person who has nothing left to learn.

When a person defines his or her belief as the only reality, that is dangerous indeed. Watch out for the person who has that type of blindness, who believes their perspective is the only one. 

They might say things like...

"I know for a fact..."

"You're wrong."

"You just don't get it."

"You should really do your homework on that."

"That doesn't matter."

"No one agrees with you."

"That never works."

"If you think/believe that, you must be a...moron, racist, tree-hugger, redneck, baby-killer or some other insult." 

It's never healthy to think I can impose my ideas, my opinions, my values, or my beliefs on another person. Our students need to learn to discuss ideas without being dismissive, condescending, or just plain rude. 

Being kind, being caring, being a person of empathy and understanding is more important than being right.

How are you helping your students be more accepting of people who have different ideas, opinions, backgrounds, etc.? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

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