We Can’t Help Solve Problems by Not Talking about Them

This applies to relationships and in life.

As an educator, one skill I believe that people are losing in our society is the ability to discuss things with each other. Whether the topics are serious, controversial, or triggering, people generally avoid them to avoid tension and conflict. We live in a polite society that generally stays away from being political. We a social rule that at dinner tables, we don’t talk about religion or politics because people get too riled up about it. Not only avoiding talking about topics like religion or politics is not good for our society, but it’s part of a larger issue: people don’t have the ability to respectfully (and logically) discuss things with other people.

We need to be able to talk about difficult topics, period. Avoiding talking about it won’t help anything. Pretend you know a guy with a gambling problem; he won’t be able to do anything about his problem if he can’t recognize it, talk about it, let alone confront it. This applies to gun control, health care, immigration, or any other hot-button issue. If it’s important, it needs to be talked about.

Also, we need to express ideas clearly. Without clear communication, we’re not really discussing. Take the issue of gun control for example. Gun control advocates argue that gun control is not the entire elimination of guns, but having common-sense laws that bans assault rifles and makes it harder for people who may be dangerous to purchase one. Gun control critics argue that gun control means taking away all guns completely from society, which violates the 2nd amendment. Nothing meaningful can be discussed (especially preventing mass shootings) if both sides can’t agree on a common definition of gun control.

We need to be able to respectfully disagree. We don’t need to always agree. It’s okay if people disagree with you or me. If I don’t agree with someone, I don’t need to demonize the other person. If they’re wrong, then they’ll be wrong; I don’t need to call them names or insult their character. I can accept their stance, disagree with it, and move on with my life.

We need to be able to listen to each other, especially to others with opposing or differentiating viewpoints. This is how people learn. This is how we become more understanding. Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot of people who are willing to listen to opposing views. I believe that it’s usually because they’re so stuck with their own views that they don’t want to listen to anyone else or give anyone a chance. We need to have an open mind to listen to many viewpoints, think about them critically, and choose whether to agree or disagree with them. For example, I am not a Trump supporter. I have listened to many Trump supporters on why they support Trump. After listening to what they have to say, I respectfully disagreed with them, If I can do that, so can anyone else.

We need to be able to talk to each other in order to make our society better. Avoiding talking about serious issues properly just lets our problems get worse. If making our society function rests with all of us, then all of us need to be able to work together, which includes genuinely talking to each other.

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