I have a two great fears when ever I add in my ideas, opinions, and experiences: either my ideas will be ignored as contrarian, or even worse, they will go unchallenged. They are not fears that cause me to keep me from sharing. I question many things. Questioning is my way of digging into an idea and developing my learning. In person this is simple because I can continue the line of questioning until I understand the reasoning or premise behind a decision. During more asynchronous conversations that arise on social media I find myself with the worry of being misunderstood.
Today on two separate occasions, I heard people thank me for pushing back. I despise the echo chamber where everyone says how fantastic everything is rather than question what is being said. There is a place for the, “I completely agree” but not at the expense of learning, improving, and developing growth. Hearing the kind words of appreciation for pushing back and offering potentially different perspectives reminded me of how important it is to find alternate viewpoints.
Education is a field in which we are constantly making decisions. We base those decisions on research, experience, and a relatively quick judgement of all the relevant factors. Thus, hearing from a variety of voices, from people who identify viewpoints other than your own, creates a greater understanding of the issue and leads to a better solution to most problems. You may not decide that the person’s viewpoint is correct, but it provides you with a potential to improve your own position. Learning is not generally a point A to point B endeavor, but one that takes many detours and rarely has an end point. For all of the people who push back, who challenge me to strengthen my own learning and ideas, thank you. I appreciate the pushback!