Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Debate team

I was home schooled.  Sometimes I wish I could have gone to public schools for some things, though there are really no regrets.  I enjoyed the amount of freedom it provided.  However, I would have loved to be on a debate.  I love to argue, and if I hadn't been a pastor, I probably would have been a lawyer.  I don't always have to be right, but I do have to think I am by the end!  I even have a bit of a knack for it.  I've been in debates/arguments where I have not really known all that I was talking about, but was able to bluff my way through.  People think I'm smarter than I am sometimes because of that.  Honestly, I've been in debates where I went away to try to figure out if what I said was even true.  Sometimes it even was!

Online debates, however, are of a different breed.  I've been in many, stating my case for whatever I happened to be arguing about that time.  Whether it was politics, religion, sports or just nonsense, I'm often involved in some type of debate.  I find them fun, try not to offend anyone, and always do my best to not take myself too seriously.

It's not always easy.  I have myself had to walk away from arguments, go back and delete comments, and even apologize.  My biggest gripe is when it gets personal.  All this to say, I've noticed that I'm changing a little.  I don't debate nearly as often these days to try to convince someone that I'm right.  It's not that I don't want people to change their minds, putting themselves on my side of the debate (which of course means they are right).  That is okay.  I've found that the thing I look for more often than anything else is that someone understands my position.

You see, I don't mind if you disagree with me, as long as you understand why I believe what I believe.  I have been in many debates where the person who disagreed with me didn't really disagree with me at all.  They only disagreed with a position they assumed I held.

Please don't misunderstand; I'm sure I have fallen into this trap myself.  I am certain that I have argued with people I didn't understand.  This is where it gets so critical, though, to ask questions and listen.  What do the people who are disagreeing with me actually believe?  When using certain words, do these words mean the same to them that they do to me?

One lesson I've tried to apply to my life over the years is this one; listening isn't waiting your turn to talk.  In debates, that is essential.  I hope I never listen to someone long enough to disagree with them.  I hope I listen to them long enough to understand them.  Then the real discussion, and possibly debate, can really begin.

1 comment:

Kevin Jackson said...

I'm a lot like you in that way. I enjoy arguing, and sometimes it's easy to go too far. :) I debated 4 years in HS. (not much choice, my dad was the coach) :) And also a year in college.