I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Bio As siblings, we debated with fun, respect

When we were kids my younger brother and I often started arguing over nothing. One of us would say, “No.” The other would say, “Yes.” and off we’d go. At times, we might even switch sides. We did it for fun. As we grew up we debated all sorts of things going on in our lives from chores to things we learned in school or church. Our older sister sometimes joined our “discussions.”

My dad had been a medic close behind the front lines in WW 11. Mom had an accounting degree and managed a firm of doctors or lawyers (I never remember which) in Minneapolis. They married after years of living on their own. Our parents were strong independent individuals who were not afraid to stand up for their point of view. Dad became a pastor and mom became his helpmate. Dad preached. Mom was a musician who played piano autoharp and accordion. We served small churches that took the abilities of both of our folks.

We grew up understanding the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. We also knew God’s love and the care of our parents who listened to us, spent time with us, read to us, and loved us. They also expected us to use our minds.

We learned if we wanted to present a case when we got into hot water, we’d better have a good argument and points to back up our side. If we truly were in the wrong, we might have been heard respectfully, but there were still consequences. Most of the time, we really couldn’t talk ourselves out of serious trouble.

When I was in elementary school in Wyoming, we had one TV channel and our time watching was limited. We didn’t have a telephone until a year before we moved to Kansas. Instead, we played board games, spent time with friends, and read–we all became readers and enjoyed debating.

Even as adults, Karin, Paul, and I would go it hot and heavy–each convinced the opinion held was correct. These weren’t physical fights, there was no name-calling or seething with anger. We enjoyed debating, discovering where our siblings were coming from, and, maybe, even scoring a point or two in our favor.

We have always been very different individuals, raised to think for ourselves. Sometimes one of us would play devil’s advocate. My brother’s wife would leave us alone when we got into it. She’d shake her head, saying if her family did this, they’d never talk to each other again. 

Of course, we discussed politics, which was rather amusing since, as conservatives, we were pretty much on the same page. We just had different ideas of how to accomplish what we felt needed doing.

Today many don’t read. They do more interacting on their cell phone than in person. Few know how to interact without anger. We learned and grew from our discussions because we stayed on a topic, not on personal attacks. We also actually enjoyed the time spent together. 

My brother is gone now. While my sister and I talk about different topics, political or otherwise, we don’t get into debates. It isn’t fun anymore. With a generation who seems bent on allowing anger to drive their actions, explode whenever someone disagrees with them and seek to stifle open and honest debate/discussion, I wish they could learn that tolerance for different points of view shouldn’t be stifled.

America is supposed to be a place of freedom of speech. I’d like to see others enjoy interacting with ideas without put-downs, anger, or seeking to cancel out the opposing point of view. Maybe then we’d become a more unified and caring country once again.

(c) 2022 Carolyn R Scheidies
Scheidies column published 6/13/2022 in the Kearney Hub
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