Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year. I remember, as a girl, going over to my Nana and Uncle’s house for the holiday meal. I would walk the streets of Santa Monica looking for leaves to decorate our table and go back to the delicious smelling house to help in the kitchen, set the table, and visit. I was lucky then to sit around the table and participate in the liveliest of discussions/arguments… having to back up my opinions with facts, being constantly challenged to think quickly and speak to a point. I was respected for my opinions at an early age and those family meals with heated discussion were a pleasure.
I love a good intelligent discussion with both people who agree and disagree. My family was loud, we interrupted each other and sometimes people got mad. They were and still are great! It is why I can have discussions with people who disagree and still be friends with them… I cherish those people who trust me enough to have a respectful discussion. It really is an art – not everyone can handle it without feeling attacked, or attacking others, without becoming defensive or getting their feelings hurt, keeping it about the ideas and not about personalities, staying respectful while still making a point, and being able to look at the argument from the other person’s perspective. Being able to have those discussions was a gift, it made me think, and right now, that is what America needs… we all need to really become thinkers. We need to think about politics, religions, racism, and all things that may seem off limits at a holiday dinner. So, dread as you might, those difficult Thanksgiving conversations with someone who voted differently than you…. take this opportunity to hone your debate skills and have a dinner that makes you think. If you can’t do it with people who love you, how will we ever do it with the rest of the country? Just remember that you love them, too… so be kind, be respectful, and keep it friendly! The worst thing that could happen is that you see the other side… That is what America needs now, maybe they will see the other side as well… I hope so! Happy Thanksgiving!