I honestly laughed when I read the epigraphs at the beginning of this chapter. They coincide so beautifully with what’s happening in our country right now – elections. I promise this post will not be completely political. ๐Ÿ™‚

The second epigraph is actually what inspired most of this post:

“To overcome our tendency to follow authority blindly, we need to develop confidence in our own ability to interpret and judge what we observe around us in the world” (64).

So many times, I have heard of people voting for a candidate just because of what they’ve heard by word of mouth. Rarely do I hear of people who actually research candidates thoroughly and decide on their own for whom they will vote. I’ll be honest. This is the first year I’ve delved deeper into finding out for myself exactly with whom I agree or disagree. I was all for Ron Paul, but when he got knocked out of the running, I found myself coming up short. I didn’t like any of my options and had just decided to vote Libertarian, simply because I had heard good things about Johnson. However, I was perusing my Google Reader about a week ago and happened upon the site I Side With. It’s a website that allows you to state where you stand on each issue and how important it is to you. After finishing the questionnaire, it produces a page of results that matches you up with candidates based on where you stand. This helps eliminate some preconceived biases and notions about certain candidates. I am so glad I discovered this website because now I know with whom and on what issues I agree. I feel like a more informed voter, and therefore, more confident in my own ability to decide.

The other part of this chapter that stood out to me was the paragraphs about developing children’s social imaginations and their ability to see other perspectives. This is imperative to develop during childhood so that when those students become adults, they will be able to have rational conversations with others even if they disagree.

Just a few hours before reading this chapter, I was in the middle of a casual debate on Facebook with my cousin, who is a senior in high school. She granted me permission to share some of her quotes in this post.

Her status said, “Pro-choice 100% I don’t understand why abortion is even a political issue. Every woman should be in control of their own body.”

I wanted to understand why. Now, I am in favor of pro-life. I have my own opinions on the issue, but I wanted to understand WHY she feels this way. I attempted to draw more out of her by posting a few affects that abortion has on women:

Following abortion, many women experience initial relief. The perceived crisis is over and life returns to normal. For many women, however, the crisis is not over. Months and even years later, significant problems can develop.
Women who have experienced abortion may develop the following symptoms:

  • Guilt
  • Grief
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Difficulty Bonding with Partner or Children
  • Eating Disorder***

My cousin’s response was: “If those symptoms occur, that sounds like personal problems, same things could happen if a relative dies or they go through an economic crisis. If someone gets pregnant on accident and they can’t afford the baby, and they realize they would never be able to support it, why have the baby [if] they don’t want it? If a young girl gets pregnant and [is] forced to keep the baby her life may be ruined if she doesn’t have the support of parents. [The] baby may end up having a life filled of foster [care] and trouble. Abortion should at least remain an option for every woman.”

I threw another curve ball at her: “It’s true the system is flawed, but that’s no justification for murder.”

Her response: “I don’t consider it murder if they’ve never seen life. And if they are unjustly born, the chances of them having a good life may be slim.”

A fair point. But then it raised a different question, how does she define life? I waited for her answer with baited breath.

“Life is living through experiences and feeling emotions. Feeling love, compassion, anger, sadness, and hope. Growing up and living.”

Now I understood a little more. She and I define life differently, which is absolutely perfect. Everyone holds different perspectives and beliefs, but unless we see what others believe too, it is impossible to be 100% sure of ourselves. In no way was I attempting to change my cousin’s mind. I only wanted to make sure she was seeing a different perspective. I may have lived longer, but, in some respects, she has gone through a hell of a lot more than I have. She is one tough little lady. I absolutely respect her and her opinions. Even though we are from the same family, we both grew up with completely different lives, in completely different homes, with completely different backgrounds.

When I am a teacher, I know I need to be prepared for any and all perspectives, as well as how to help expand my students’ “social imagination so that [they] can readily see others in [themselves] and [themselves] in others” (67).

*** Information from Modesto Pregnancy Center’s website