Friday, November 11, 2016

Rules for arguing

Pondering... are there "rules of engagement" for arguing. Arguing is something I see as a failure to communicate coming to a head... How does one make arguing a positive venture, were communication actually happens instead of it becoming a contest on who can yell the loudest or get in the most hurtful jibes.

So, as I ponder, I must have some context. Politicians argue and get paid for it. Philosophers argue because that is the joy that binds them. I am glad I am not a philosopher! Scientists argue to seek truth and knowledge. I guess for this brief excursus I will focus on the type of arguments that have the potential to break hearts, homes and relationships... the most deadly of arguments...

If there are no such rules for such arguments then here are mine. If there are, then I like mine better! (I may need to ponder arrogance at some point but not today <insert favorite smiley icon here>)

Since "rules" (and I hate rules) are generally bulleted here is my list of "rules" in no particular order.

  1. First and foremost if you are going to argue, do so with a purpose. What should that purpose be? It is not to win. Really? Yes, really. Then why am I arguing? Good question. Winning an argument means that there is a loser.  I submit that the purpose of an argument is to communicate. I would also submit that that communications is a two way street that involves listening as much, if not more than, expressing your own thoughts.
  2. Respect the person you are arguing with. This can be hard when you are angry. Still if you want to actually be heard you must be willing to listen. In the context of this list you are arguing with someone you love. That person has a mind of their own. They are not mental clones of yourself. Them being themselves is why you fell in love with them in the first place. Show respect as you disagree with each other. Recognize that that they feel the way they do because of who they are and that you love them. Never disrespect them as a person and never disrespect their feelings.
  3. No sharp objects. If you have been together any significant amount of time you know precisely how to cut the heart out of the other person and leave them emotionally gasping. If you ever use that scalpel in an argument you will lose the trust that they have for you. They will close themselves off from you to protect themselves. You may successfully end an argument with this but you will have done so at a cost you may not be happy to pay.
  4. Never with an audience. Disagreement is natural but bystanders can only see the fight. If kids are around they simply do not understand and adults fighting frighten them, giving them a feeling of insecurity. If you grew up in a house full of fighting you know what I mean. By publicly arguing you draw nothing but contempt from adults. You emotionally scar children and that is a sin of the utmost degree.
  5. If you are married, you most likely promised to honor each other. If you are not married then honor is an unspoken expectation. What is honor? We know how it applies to Klingons, which is a personal honor. But what is it to give honor to the one we love but disagree with. I would say that it is to only show them in a positive light. Never take your argument into your community of friends with the purpose of shaming them. Never seek to establish sides. As far as the world around you knows, the person you are fighting with is perfect.
  6. Never use love as a bargaining chip. The phrase that begins with: "If you love me..." is not only unfair, it is destructive. You are basically saying that they have to choose between loving you and disagreeing with you. It is a dangerous game to place them in that position. It may work a few times but eventually they will choose their argument over their love and you will both lose.
  7. Keep the argument room temperature. The more heated an argument gets the less likely that a positive outcome will occur. The temperature of an argument is measured by how much one is forcing their feelings on the other through a play for power. At some point that heat causes an explosion that erupts in neither side winning and both sides being devastated. That is not a positive end to an argument.
  8. Do not bring up the past in an effort to justify the present. If one has made a mistake in the past, regardless of size, it is not fair game in an argument today. Keep the argument focused on the items that are relevant to the specific situation that you are arguing about.
  9. No name calling. This one ties closely with honoring. When you call the other person by some derogatory designation, you have expressed your lowest opinion of them. You have taken out the switch blade to injuriously cut at their self worth. Winning an argument is never worth cutting the legs out from under the heart the one you love. If you love them your goal is to build up, never cut down. Sticks and stone may break bones but words can devalue a person to the point of complete and utter despair.
  10. And because lists like this are always 10 in length, no more and no less (and who am I to argue?) this is the last one. Love wins the day and hurt loses it. You can weather any storm if you know that you each have each other's back and that each other's love is unconditional. You can feel safe sharing your diverse opinions knowing that in the end you will still be loved.
  11. And because I hate rules :) Number 11 is: No shields and so sabers. Absorb the hard to hear words and never use your words to cut back. Listen to understand. An argument is not a duel to the death. It is a coming together to better understand each other. So, leave your shields down and hear what is being said. For that to work, though, both sides need to commit to making it safe to leave shield down.  

There. My 10+1 rules for successful arguing! Now go forth and communicate!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Who to Vote for in 2016

What's on my mind, FaceBook asks.... How should I vote? That is what is on my mind...
I got my mail in ballot the other day asking for my choice of person to represent my political party in the presidential race. I have yet to choose. None of them show the type of integrity I would wish to see represent me to the nations of the world. I would be politically embarrassed if any of them succeeded in gaining the position. Still the choice looms and not choosing is, to use a good old 70's term: "A cop out". Therefore I ponder...
There is a passage in Ezekiel 16:46-50 that weighs on me heavily as I consider where to place my little black dots signifying my support for the person running for the office of President of our nation.
If the words of God in the Old testament were printed in red as the words of Jesus frequently are in the New Testament, the page would positively glow with the color. God is upset with the country that He calls His. The people that He has chose to be a blessing to the world. The one He calls "beloved". His words are harsh for His people.
He says:
“Behold, everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb concerning you, saying, ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and children. You are also the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. Now your older sister is Samaria, who lives north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lives south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they."
Paraphrased: You are as bad, no, worse than the countries that you hate hate the most. And the worst part is that all of the other countries that you think should look up to you - They are the ones mocking you, using you in cliche, saying you are no different from them.
He continues:
"As I live,” declares the Lord God, “Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done."
Wow! Remember Sodom? They were so evil that God destroyed, no, obliterated them. And we all know what they did wrong. Right?
"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me."
Oh, Wait. That is not what I expected to hear. They did not take care of their poor? That is why they were wiped from the face of the planet? But... but... but... What about the way we treat our poor? Surely there was an escape clause for the lazy or the stupid or those that made poor choices. Searching.... searching.... can't find one. I think we are in trouble.
He closes with a single, very short, blunt and to the point sentence:
"Therefore I removed them when I saw it."
Friends, if that does not make you want to run and hide, you are simply not getting it. I want to run and hide. I want this election to be over. I want to stop being the laughing stock of our "sisters" and and "mothers" as the politicians profess a life they do not live and seek to gain a position of power through fear mongering, deceit and false promises.
How am I going to vote??... I don't know yet but this one thing I do know. I will side with those that would not be arrogant, not be careless at ease and who will work diligently to care for the poor and needy. If these are God's priorities, they should be the priorities of all those that would call Him Lord.
If you got all the way to the end of this post then you have more patience that I probably would have had :)smile emoticon 

God bless you and vote responsibly!