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OP-ED: Talking About Parenting: Working with people who think differently from you

Chris Kovatch

Generally, the topics I write on are tied to experiences I have had recently. I always make every effort to bring positivity and a smile to peoples’ faces. There is far too much negativity in this world. Negativity breeds dissension and division. With everything in this world that works to tear us apart, we should be looking for every opportunity to hold right to each other.
So instead of dwelling on people that wish to bring drama and turmoil, I thought it would be best to share my thoughts on how to work together. As always, these are my thoughts and opinions. I make every effort to not be the cause of any offense. Am I perfect? Far from it. I am human. But I do try to take every failure and turn it into a tool for growth and improvement.
So here we go. My tips, to my kids and any one else who chooses to listen, on how to work with people who think differently from you.
It’s ok that people think differently from you. Unless their beliefs are illegal or causing physical harm or in inciting hate and violence…then they are generally entitled to them.

The popular opinion seems to be that our differing views somehow make us less of a person; that if we believe something different than you that we are the problem and are somehow ignorant human beings. What if we viewed our differences as something that could be leveraged as a strength? What if instead of leaping to DEFCON 5, we actually take a breath and listen? What if we remembered that the person we are talking to is a human and based on their upbringing and experiences that they might view things from a different perspective than us. What if we remembered what compromise is and not dig our heels in and close our minds? Perhaps it’s not always my way or the highway?

I am not saying to compromise morals or your beliefs, but rather acknowledging and respecting the fact that there are other different educated opinions out there.
Next it is important to have a sense of humor. Remember that sarcasm, laughing at oneself, and hyperbole are alive and well. Not everything that is written or said is meant to be taken literally. Be open to interpretation. Be open to multiple intended meanings. If everything was taken verbatim, life would be a pretty boring place.  Remember to laugh. Remember to smile. Remember that jokes are ok.

The world has made everything so serious lately. That’s not to say that somethings aren’t of a serious nature, but rather that we shouldn’t let seriousness permeate every aspect of our life. Joy is good.
Finally, remember your words and actions have power. They have impacts. They have consequences. While you might not agree with something, does it do anyone any good to create drama or strife? That only breeds division and further damages any chance of compromise and cooperation.

I can pretty much guarantee all of our parents taught us this simple rule: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
We will all stumble in life at this. We will all fail.  However, if we approach each day with a concerted effort to be kind and to be respectful, I imagine we could gain a lot of ground and work together for the common good.

Chris Kovatch is a resident of Orange County. You can reach him at news@orangeleader.com