More Than A Debate.

“Why is our cousin attending an argument class, mom?”

“Argument class?”

“Yes. She said she goes for one every week . Has she learnt to argue better now ?”

“Oh! You mean the debate class ?”

“Yes. The same .”

The next two minutes are very critical for me. I have to keep the kid engaged in the same thought because they tend to get into the next train of thoughts easily and at the same time I have to frame my thoughts on how to take this discussion forward. I just about manage to do that and start a conversation.

“It’s called a debate. It is a very important tool. ”

“Why ?”

“Because it is always important to know the other side of the coin. ”

“Coin?”

“For example, when you say  A is right, and the other person says B is right , you should be able to

1. Point out clearly why you think A is right.
2. Listen to why the other person says B is right.
3. Finally decide if you still think A is right. ”

” Ok. So after the argument, i mean, debate, if I feel that B is right, can I switch over? ”

” Well, if you are taking part in a debate competition, then you cannot. You have to stick to your choice. But in real life, yes, of course you can. ”

“Oh , Ok. Then I will not take part in a debate competition. If I think B is right, then I want to go with B. ”

I smile and then we start a debate on the most debated topic in our home ” Should we have a pet at home or not. ”  Phew!

I was particularly impressed by the way he said he would like to switch to B if he felt that B was a better choice. How many of us, adults can actually do that? How many of us can say that though I started with A , I switched to B because I heard the points in favor of B and realized my choice was not right.

In the case of adults:
We don’t even want to listen to the points in favor of B.
Even if we are convinced, we will not switch over to B.

A and B cease to appear as two equally choosable options. Once we choose A, we make it so much a part of us that we don’t want to let it go. The only reason for this being:
Our inability to separate ourselves from our likes and dislikes, our interests and our beliefs. We make it a part of our skin and live with it.

There are a lot of people in our history who have shifted from one ideology to another. Earlier, I would look down upon them. But now I understand that it needs a lot of courage to do that. To publicly accept that one did not make a right choice and then rectify it, is not easy. I am not talking about people who switch parties for the greed of power or money.

Getting back to where all these thoughts started ( the debate class) I really appreciate the way kids are taught how to consolidate all their thoughts with regard to a certain topic. They are also encouraged to think about the points that the opposition team may come up with so that they can be prepared for a rebuttal.

My two cents regarding debates being conducted would be: Every debate (class or otherwise) should end with the participants from team A talking about points from team B that they appreciated the most. And vice versa. By doing so:
We teach the kids the humility and courage to publicly acknowledge and appreciate good even in an opponent.
They get a peek into the other side of the coin.
Most importantly, they learn to disassociate themselves from their argument points.

Happy Debating!

 

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24 Comments

  1. I for one am certainly not going to debate with you on the points so beautifully put forward by you!! I think in some cases, even if people are convinced about the other side of the coin they don’t want to let go theirs due to ego!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so right! We have lost the ability to even acknowledge that another point of view could be valid, much less try to actually understand it. Perhaps debate (with arbitrarily chosen sides) should be a required class for all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I really enjoyed this! You beautifully lay out the beauty of healthy debate versus having to win an argument. Love how your ideas came out of an everyday kind of moment with your children. Glad I found you through Susie’s dance party.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Now the words are so real, it hurts! We as adults certainly can not and will not accept other’s point of view and the same concept seems so correct in a toddler’s head. As they say nowadays “the problem is that we listen to reply rather than to understand!”
    Certainly going to reblog this one!!!!
    Glad we could connect over at Susie’s. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Long Island Iced Tea and commented:
    I have always believed that the root cause for all issues- big or small is usually a simple one. This is a classic take on how a debate sounds in a toddler’s head vs how we as adults take it! As they say the problem is that we do not listen to understand but to reply.This is why being a toddler was so easy, we had a pure, unbiased and fair understanding of things. Head over to deepasthoughts and find more! 🙂

    #blog #life

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Debate is a valuable skill! I think part of the reason we end up fighting instead of debating critically is because gaining perspective requires laying down our own pride and defenses, which we naturally hate doing because we’re self-centered. If we could all learn to argue the way you described it to your child, I think we’d all get along better 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Superb! I liked the concept. The thought process involved was very interesting. I too believe that in real life, we should switch to “B” , if we are convinced that B is correct. However, many a times, that doesnt happen for the various reasons you have aptly pointed out. Besides, I feel the ego is also another aspect that comes on the way to switching.😊

    Like

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