Plumbers and Teaching Multiple Views

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The plumbing in my house is old. I've spent a small fortune ensuring waste escapes my property. Otherwise it becomes trapped 14 feet underground, refusing to release the rest which greedily claims my laundry room. Of the many plumbers answering my call, not one has looked around and failed to mention the completely not-up-to-code and utterly bizarre piping we live amidst on a daily basis.

"Never seen that before," are words you don't want to hear from these guys, or so my wife tells me. I wouldn't know different.

Pesky Plumbing

With so much practice paying experts to come to my house, I very much resonate with Fred Sander's experiences with repairmen. His post is funny and insightful... not just about home improvement, but also teaching theology. Please go read it now.


[Oh, you skipped it. Fine. Quick version: Saying that the person who does not believe what you believe is an idiot -- a practice adopted by many in both religion and contract work -- undermines our faith in the "industry." Better to sympathetically explain what the others are trying to do and talk through the subject matter at hand. Read the complete post here.]

I love this.

Fred's post demonstrates two interrelated reasons it is so important to learn multiple views: Humility and clarity.

When we discover that those with whom we disagree are not evil or ignorant or willfully-blind, we can speak with sympathy and grace. This happened recently in a Skype conversation with one of "my kids" who is at school out of state. She had jumped on the bandwagon of a recent hot political issue and was rather fired up about it. We had gone back and forth a bit on Facebook, and now it was time to hash it all out in real time. So we talked.

After an hour or so she asked, "Wait, did we just both present our ideas, come to some conclusions, and accept that both sides made good points? Did that just happen?"

"Of course," I said. "Both sides have very legitimate concerns. I just happen to think these issues are more on point and I would address the problems in the ways we discussed."

Humility allows us to accept reality. Defiantly stamping our feet and insisting the other side is flat-out wrong entirely tends to push people away. And should those who agree with us one day find some good points across the fence, they will be faced with an artificial choice you created: Do they maintain their beliefs they no longer believe are completely true, or do they reject the information they just learned?

The nuances we gain by learning what both sides believe and why afford us a deeper understanding. This is good for others, not just us. Equipped with a clearer picture, we can discuss and defend our position. We can invite someone to see things our way as we see it from their perspective. We can dig down to the root issues 14 feet underground, rather than muck about in the muck filling the laundry room.

With Sonlight, odds are you're teaching your kids multiple views. You're equipping them to speak true and love. You're doing things right.

Keep it up.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

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  1. Pingback: Homeschooling Gives You Choices | Sonlight Blog