Friday, June 27, 2008

Maybe it's Just Too Personal...

After reflecting on the comments on my last post and thinking things over, a new perspective came to me. Maybe it's not that the art of dialogue is gone, but just that some things are too personal, some choices are too close to home, to talk objectively about. I've come to the point with political discussions where I'm just hoping people will be polite, but if I'm truthful, I'm longing to have a discussion with someone who shares my views and passions. It's truly an adventure living in the midwest, being active in the LDS church, and being politically liberal.
I'm also more comfortable talking with moms who have parenting philosophies that are similar to mine. Then again, I've never liked being just like everyone else, so maybe I thrive a bit on being different in my own way too. I definitely get my back up when someone seems to disparage my choices or make assumptions about me based on them. And I'm not usually grateful for unsolicited information or advice. And, when it comes to health and food issues, it can be difficult to stand by when you think someone else's choices are dangerous or ill-informed. There's a reason so many groups of similarly minded people flourish - we all thrive amidst affirmation.
We all privately look around us and choose to adopt what we admire in the choices of others and let go of the rest. I guess the trick is to learn to do so without needing to feel like our choices make us superior or that we always have to declare our dissent. This is definitely something I could work on. It's so personal trying to figure out when to speak up and when doing so serves no useful purpose or can actually harm a relationship. In order to have great relationships with friends and family, sometimes it's better to let some topics go.
Despite all of this, I still long to master the art of dialogue, to find that friend that loves to talk and discuss more than she loves affirmation, and who can bring that quality out in me.


Rebecca said...

I like the dialouge we had here! Sounds like you swim in a smaller stream politically where you live, but in many areas, your research leads you to more mainstream beliefs. It is GOOD to have both perspectives...right? How great for you to sit with a home schooler and know what it feels like for people to openly opnionate on your political sheds light on how she would feel if you were to rattle off all the ways you disagree with her homeschooling choices. I love it when we are given opportunities to be more open minded based on our desire to recieve the same respect in return.

I like what you said about how sharing your beliefs alienate others. This is why I don't go on my blog and dis public schools or other things. The only thing anyone could possibly hope to gain from such interaction is to persuade someone to their side WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE! At the end of such conversations, both parties feel defensive because they've been defending their personal belief, but they don't go..."wow, I see your point, I'm going to become a Democrat." The only thing that comes from such interaction is alienated relationships.

I think that we all enjoy talking about our beliefs with people who share them.

The conversation with my friend about the varicella booster was my very BEST FRIEND. Her dad's an OB, she put her baby on Zantac for acid-reflux because she didn't want to bother changing her diet when she nursed and she was a public school teacher.

I totally respect her choices for her family, and I can even rant here and there about my things because she knows I'm not trying to change her views. We talk about goals, sewing, child rearing, husbands, books we read, decorating the house, gardening, shopping, bargains, etc...

You'll find that friend! You probably have it in your husband too! Even if she is a homeschooling republican who packs guns and spanks her kids. :)

Thanks for the invigorating thought!

The Farmers said...

Thanks, Rebecca. I'm glad this has created some dialogue between us. I do have to say, though, that I actually live in a town full of homeschoolers (lots of them LDS) and they tend to be the ones in my face, not the other way around. So, I was excited when the conversation I had with these two women came up really naturally. Somehow they mentioned that they knew each other through church, then it came up that I attend the LDS church, and she knew quite a few LDS women through homeschooling. Then we naturally talked about our schooling choices and the local preschool. No one avoided saying what they did as far as school, no one blasted each other's choices. That's why I loved it! That's why it felt rare. We weren't defensive, just talking about schooling in a natural way because we were confident in who we were and interested in each other.

Rebecca said...

I shouldn't have made it sound like I was specifically addressing your experience! I wasn't there, and I don't know them. That wasn't intended to be my point. I think we just have very different perspectives because we are in very different shoes. I would say for sure that of all the minorities I identify with, the homeschoolers are the most convinced of their choices and I could see how in greater numbers they would voice their opinion more openly. I've noticed since rubbing shoulders with that community that it takes a really opinionated, strong personality (in general) to make that move to it is like being in a room full of HUGE personalities.

I don't think that homeschoolers are proud of themselves, I personally believe that the burden of supporting a child in their public school education is greater than just doing it at home. I think that most every public school family is spending as much time supplementing or tutoring their child in their public education as a home schooling family is spending on core curriculum. I just can't fathom losing that time with my child and on top of that, having to fit in all their extra activites and homework/tutoring and family time in the afternoon/evening hours.

I'm homeschooling for a slew of reasons, but none having to do with the belif that I am grandiose or super fantastic! I don't think this is a common belief at all. One reason for me is because I plan to have all the core curiculum AND religion, ballet, swimming, piano, etc. done before daddy is home from work. That is a huge bonus for me, and I feel that simplifies my life.

Fun talks! Love that wallpaper! What a nightmare. We have some serious removal to do ourselves, and so far, no real moves are being made in that direction!

Annalise said...

Well I don't really have any opinions on homeschooling or the like yet, but I just wanted to say that I really admire your efforts and your willingness to talk about things on your blog. I'm too afraid to talk openly about my views on politics and religion on my blog because I know it would upset a lot of people. I really like being different than the mainstream but I hate how people (even close friends) immediately dismiss me and my opinions because they are different from theirs.