For the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by The Two Writing Teachers Blog. Each day I will be sharing a Quick Write as my way of slicing. The idea is to offer a SPARK that will kindle thinking and then write as quickly as you can for 5-10 minutes. No filters, no revisions. I’ve been curating a collection of Sparks and will share some with you all month. It’s a great way to ignite your writing life.
COUNTERPOINT SPARK: Yesterday I wrote about quick writing to current events or the day’s headlines. For some students it might be a great idea to ask them to respond with a viewpoint that differs from their own. “Imagine you are someone with a totally different viewpoint from your own. What are you thinking, wondering, feeling?” It’s not proving difficult for people to share their own thinking, but I believe our world would benefit from those who can acknowledge that there is a diversity of thought that exists and people holding differing views are not our enemies. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them, only that we seek to understand them if we want a more civil society or community. I try to do this mentally from time to time, so I challenge myself to do that thinking on paper.
Here’s my quick write:
Though I am friends and family with many, it was hard to put myself in the shoes of a Trump supporter and I realized I only had the ‘talking points’ that I’ve heard over and over to respond with. Maybe that is a sign I need to listen for what those words mean down deep to those who say them. What are their hopes and fears that lead them to these thoughts or statements? I’ll bet we share many of those same hopes and fears, that is the common ground I need to seek and not conceding my beliefs or principles. I have to admit it is a bit agonizing to write them as though these were my own true thoughts. Counterpoint quick writes might not be for everybody but we can’t build this skill without practice.
14 thoughts on “#SOL19 Day 14 Spark! Counterpoint”
I love that you challenged yourself to write from a different perspective. I don’t think I could take on this stance. It just feels wrong to be on the right.
It was SOO hard, Margaret! I don’t know how we will ever bridge this divide if we don’t start somewhere. I don’t embrace those positions, but I need to try and understand them.
Wow- this is a great idea, for myself and to try with students. The topic you chose would be challenging for me but I completely agree that we need to find ways to consider other points of view in civil ways.
It is incredibly challenging I took a school law class where I had to present arguments on a position I totally opposed. It was an incredible exercise in seeking to understand. It didn’t change my views, but it helped me to see where others were coming from a bit more compassionately.
Great spark and great example of taking on a really hard challenge. I really believe that we have to be able to put ourselves in the position of others if we have any hope of understanding them – and that empathy is an unspoken basis of democracy – so this seems really important.
Thanks, Amanda. I agree. We need to ‘be the change’ at this point in our democracy and start somewhere.
This is quite humbling. It makes you really think about other perspectives and maybe slowly understand their point of view.
I agree Juliette, humbling is a great way to describe it.
Writing from a different perspective is very difficult, but so important to practice (because it leads to thinking about a specific topic from a different perspective). In one of the replies, you write, ” I don’t know how we will ever bridge this divide if we don’t start somewhere.” I TOTALLY AGREE with you.
Wow, talk about taking on a challenge! I really like this exercise and could immediately see how valuable it would be. It might also be an interesting thing for kids to try when trying to resolve ongoing difficulties with other kids. I do think we need to try to understand where people are coming from and I truly appreciate and admire your effort.
I’m not sure I could have done what you did when you took that Law class. There were times when my exercise buddy would talk about what was happening in the news regarding Trump. She was/is a supporter of him. I always just listen to what she has to say but do not respond. Our perspectives were totally different but I never told her that!
It’s tough, but NOT listening, engaging, and trying to understand moves us further apart. Doesn’t mean I ALWAYS listen or know what to say.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate this post! I am so tired of the we/they and us/them perspective. We can be different and have respect (we don’t have to agree!) for their differences. If we don’t, we will never build a bridge.
You’re right about that drinking from a firehose feeling. That’s how I feel every time I turn on MSNBC at night.