No, I don't mean arrests.
As I left the nest and entered my REAL life as a college student (come on, didn't you ever think about how your life would actually be starting once you weren't doing everything everyone else told you to do? Parents, teachers, leaders...), meaning, I was legally an adult and made my own decisions, I realized how little I felt convicted in certain common, every day issues. I was rather easy-going. I would take everyone's thoughts and feelings in to consideration. It wasn't entirely a bad thing, since I got along with people from ALL walks of life and persuasions. In fact, I credit my convictionless beginning to my life with opening my eyes and my mind to so much that the world and life has to offer. I still look for every feasible opportunity to experience more in life.
The problem is, though, that I would be in a discussion, usually about something rather heady, and would nod my head to let the speaker know I was paying attention. And I could usually see that person's point of view. But it inevitably was perceived as my agreeing with the speaker on his or her point of view. I found myself agreeing to some things with which I slowly began to realize I did not agree.
I don't speak up well. I don't. I get over-run in large group discussions all the time. And I have a theory about why I let myself get talked over, but this is not the venue for that, at least not at this time, so... moving on... My point is that when I was (am?) in these deep, serious discussions with others, I find myself biting my tongue more than speaking my own piece.
I believe that one reason why I do this is because it is now habit. I've done it for so long, it is difficult for me to step out of that shell. But I've also found, through this process of self-evaluation, that I do have my own convictions. I have grown, experienced enough, matured?? Maybe all three? to develop my own ideas rather than ones that were handed down to me.
One thing I tell my students on a regular basis when they ask me personal questions (religion, politics, etc.) is that is does not matter what I think. My job is NOT to tell them what to think. My job is to get them TO think. They have been handed convictions by their parents, previous teachers, leaders, etc. their whole 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 years. My job is to offer them ideas and let them decide what they want to see in those ideas. Obviously, there are grammar rules, suggestions for writing, etc., but I mean on the bigger scale. I mean their life convictions. And now, I have a son with whom I will be sharing my (our) ideas, ideals, and convictions.
Some students see that, understand, and leave it alone. Some see it but continue to fight for my personal ideas. Some of my ideas are the same as when I was growing up. Some have changed. Some are still forming. As we approach the new school year, and as Sydney begins to comprehend more and think logically on his own, I will continue to, no doubt, bite my tongue in some regards, and will learn to speak up in others in hopes of allowing myself a voice as well as instruct my son to consider all sides of an argument and learn to develop his own ideas.
Here's to life experiences and thinking for yourself. I fear far too little of those happen these days.