While on a roadtrip recently to visit with family, we stopped for lunch and ended up getting into a political debate. Surprisingly it wasn’t just my husband and I that were debating, our two children joined in as well. Between the four of us, we were getting quite loud and I had to remind my family that were weren’t the only ones in the restaurant. This brought to mind a certain quote from an interview of Richard’s:
“I find New Yorkers incredibly engaging. They’re like Parisians …cool and confrontational, in a good way, in a good way, like they like a good debate. …you walk into a restaurant and it’s not full of people silently sitting in front of each other like it can be in England; it’s full of people pointing fingers in each other’s faces having a really good political debate, or whatever.”
Our debate took place in a Midwestern McDonald’s but that seems fitting, in an All-American kind of way.
It was kind of ironic seeing as how I’d spent the majority of the trip trying to avoid controversial discussions, as I always do during gatherings with extended family. So it struck me as funny that it came pouring out over a quick meal of cheeseburgers with my husband and kids. I guess I feel safest with them and know that whatever I say won’t cause them to treat me differently afterwards.
Once upon a time I’d throw my opinions in the ring with the best of them, but I always walked away feeling badly. I let my passions get the best of me and either offended who I was conversing with or walked away feeling bitter because I was offended myself.
These days I prefer more an exchange of ideas rather than an actual debate. I don’t need to be right but I do need my conversation partners to be willing to entertain various viewpoints.
All in all, I try to bow out of heated discussions during Holiday get-togethers whenever (and however) possible.
The risk to personal relationships, not to mention my own peace of mind, isn’t worth it to me in the long run. If you need me, I’ll be at the kid’s table; the “grown up” table is overrated.