Assignment 1; The Argument Culture
This article summary is aimed at the all American family person, as I see them. The mother, the family, the college student. It is the people that are raising their children in our society today. It is a collection of all my experiences through the years and the many personalities with which I have come in contact. I leaned my discussion towards home life and how we can raise our children to be the change that we see, the change that I feel is needed. I feel the person you are, the personality that forms you, the ideas that you take into the world, and your career are what you pass onto your children and it all derives from your home.
In reading the article, The Argument Culture, written by Deborah Tannen, the overall idea that stands out to me is that America, as a whole, is much less empathetic than in the past and we tend to be closed minded. We are taught from the beginning, as children, that the answer is either yes or no, that there are always two answers to every problem, that there is a winner and a loser, and that what the adult says is the end-all rule. In either an optimistic or pessimistic view, your cup is either half full or half empty. As we make our way through childhood, we are taught to pick sides. We are categorized into groups and, as we approach adulthood, we are told that at the ripe old age of 18, we must pick a voting party. I very much agreed with Deborah Tannen’s suggestion that “we overcome our classically American habit of seeing issues in absolutes.” (Tannen, 2014) She suggests, and I must concur, that to change society’s thinking then “We must expand our notion of ‘debate’ to include more dialogue.” (Tannen, 2014) We must try to change our brains to start thinking from more than just the two sides, and to realize that there might be a view in-between and then more choices become available when we talk about it. This all sounds great in an ideal world but as the mother of a small child who is developing and learning about this world every day, I want him to be free to see all sides. I want him to be able to make his own educated choices, (that is, as long as I, the over protective mother, agrees with them), but I will allow him to voice his opinion and try to convince me otherwise. Tannen suggests that “It will take creativity for each of us to find ways to change the argumentative culture to a dialogue culture.” (Tannen, 2014) My question is, will this be a losing battle? I come from a career that is mostly service industry based. As a young high school student and upon entering college, I worked in many food service businesses as a hostess or waitress as I completed the first of my college. After graduation as a nurse, I was cast into the large hospital setting, which was still a customer-based business, but definitely different from my former restaurant years. One thing continues to be constant through all the industries and has been repeated to me many, many times in all my years, the customer is always right. There is no talking or debating when a complaint is issued, no matter if the employee is correct. The customer is always right and service recovery is most important. So, in reality, they are allowing them, the complainer/ the customer, to believe they are right and we are forced to conform to the fact that regardless of who is right we must stand back and allow them to feel right. There is no in-between, there is no discussing it to come to an agreed resolution as the article The Argument Culture (Tannen, 2014) would suggest. In children’s sports, their training by over-bearing coaches and parents begins at a very young age and is geared towards being competitive. The children are taught that there is a winner and a loser and you do not want to be the loser. I disagree with this thinking at such a young age. I believe in the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change you