Hello Everyone! Thanks so much for reading.
Today, I’m writing about a subject we’ve all been bombarded with lately, and so I think it’s an appropriate time in which to offer up my own thoughts, advice, AND OPINIONS, especially since, being a teacher, the future for our younger generation is heavy in my heart and mind. Dear Young People of the World, this is for you.
I imagine, for those of you who’ve followed this blog during my poetry writing spurts, it’s a bit confusing to find me writing PROSE. It might help you to think of me as Bi-Prosal, which is kind of like being Bi-Polar, only with writing. I write mostly poetry, but sometimes I trip on my own two feet, land on my face in the dirt, and find it all so funny that I have to pick myself up, re-arrange my pants, and go write about it.
The best part is when I share it with you.
Getting to the point:
Today, I want to write about something that I think is very important for young people to hear. I feel qualified to offer this based on years of experience as a teacher and minister who has felt PRIVALEDGED and excited, mostly overly caffeinated, but thoroughly BLESSED by the youth I’ve worked with. I’m going to start by telling two quick stories that will explain why I feel prompted to write this today.
Quick Story Number One:
Two days ago, I was shopping for a new shiny toy and, exercising my Dave Ramsey skills, was looking for a deal. Dave Ramsey is a respected financial guru who teaches people how to have success with money. One of the things he teaches is to NEVER pay full-price for ANYTHING. This is done by coupon clipping, comparison shopping, sale waiting, and flat out demanding a reduced price.
Those of you who live in other nations of the world and understand bargaining as a necessary part of shopping for goods and services might find it strange that Americans need to be taught how to bargain. I was determined to practice my new found money saving skillage, but it was a hot, July day in Florida…
…so I landed my sunburned, dehydrated body in Target, which is the sale shopper’s equivalent of GIVING UP. After chasing down a store employee, I attempted to bargain, “Are there any coupons here that can be used on this purchase? I want a discount. When will this item be on sale? Can you reduce the price?” I asked, using my hand full of cash as a fan to cool my poor, fevered, sunburned body. “It can’t hurt to ask,” I smiled.
Now, let me wrap up Quick Story Number One by telling you the part of this interaction that sparked today’s post. The store employee, a bright, intelligent young man – the future of our American Dream, apologized. APOLOGIZED. He apologized to me, he apologized to the store manager when he called to ask about sale dates, coupons, and discounts, he apologized for what he knew, for what he didn’t know, he even apologized to the item in my hands, as if it had anthropomorphized…IDK, maybe a Pokémon was standing on top of it…
I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d apologized for breathing air, which is sad since I’d been so nice to him, and have NO problem breathing air myself ( I highly recommend it).
I left the store, without any discounts, after about a million apologies and the part that bugged me was not the no-discount part. It was all of the apologizing, as if asking questions about sale prices is wrong, as if calling the manager is against the rules, as if he were embarrassed to work, as if the job wasn’t to talk to customers at all; just ring up their purchases and take their money.
I remained calm and polite during our conversation about the purchase price without raising my voice, and said “Thank you,” with a smile when I left. Even if I had yelled and lost my temper, which I hadn’t, I see no reason for his apologies.
Young people, why are you apologizing?
Quick Story Number Two:
Puzzling over all the, “I’m sorry this,” and “I’m sorry that,” reminded me of a reaction I experienced from one of my former students. This young person was the TOP student in her class. She was intelligent, bold with her style choices, artistic, and not afraid to try new things. One day, she showed support for a controversial point of view. I liked her take on the subject, and I told her so; “That’s an interesting angle I had not considered. Thanks for sharing.” She immediately began back tracking; “I’m sorry,” she said, “I shouldn’t be so opinionated.” Really?
We are all bombarded by political opinions, radical religious views, and hash tag movements. The media is full of news stories related to poor decisions made by groups and individuals who claim to be acting on these beliefs, but…
What is wrong with having an opinion?
Have an opinion, please! Have any opinion. Have a half-baked opinion. Have an opinion that’s so crazy it has to be high and on drugs. Try some impossible opinions. Sometimes, just for kicks, try an old-fashioned opinion. Change things up and argue for your opponent’s opinion from time to time – strengthen your beliefs; test them out. Play “Devil’s Advocate” – make it your new hobby. Back up your opinions and beliefs with facts, or supporting information, and form an educated, informed opinion.
And STOP APOLOGIZING!!!
I think this comes from a fear of making mistakes, or of offending somebody, and I think we need to get over it, so let’s play a game: Let’s pretend you, or I, have the wrong opinion. Let’s pretend we offend somebody with our very wrong opinion. Play out the scenario in your mind of expressing your horrendous, misguided opinion to an angry person who becomes so offended by your belief that he/she explodes in a fit of rage. Let your imagination run wild. Imagine the worst possible outcome. What happens? They: storm off, cuss you out, threaten you, tell you where to shove it, and then the world keeps moving on.
Now let’s ask a question: Which is worse? To live a long, safe life of never taking a stand or losing your life fighting for a noble cause?
People with bad/wrong/unjust opinions are not afraid to share them and they don’t care if they offend anyone, so why should you, intelligent, aspiring, ambitious, wonderful you, be afraid to share your beliefs?
There is a lot that is wrong with our world, but I believe we have what it takes to make it a better one. Do not apologize for your presence or ideals. Square your shoulders, straighten your back, lift your head, smile, and calmly state your opinion/belief/idea without apologizing. You cannot break the world by doing so – it is already broken. Who knows, you might end up fixing it.