When my daughter was in grade 6, her teacher introduced the topic of ‘Debating’ and how to do it properly and effectively.

Simultaneously, they were covering a unit on outer space exploration, so one of the debate topics was whether or not investigating the solar system was something humanity should be doing.

All of her classmates were very excited about exploring outer space; even her teacher’s delivery of the topic made it sound like it was an important and necessary endeavour. 

With this influence surrounding her, my daughter started to feel the same way about it, too.

A few days later, all of the students were assigned debate topics. She and her partner were given outer space exploration, and both of them adamantly wanted to be on the ‘pro side’. The teacher had them flip a coin to settle the decision. To my daughter’s chagrin she had to defend the ‘con side’.

She came home from school upset and told me that it was impossible to defend something she didn’t believe in.

I asked her to share reasons why she thought exploring outer space was important. She had some valid points. I then asked her why it wouldn’t be a good idea. She said that she didn’t know. So I suggested that she research it.

After spending hours investigating and discussing it with her Dad and me, she came to the realization that not only could she effectively debate the cons of exploring outer space, she believed it to be a more powerful argument!

It’s amazing how we may change our opinion on something if we make a sincere effort to understand it more thoroughly and consider other points of view.

In our discussion, my daughter also wisely noted that most people only see what they already believe and without even realizing it, they look for proof to uphold their current views.

In this school situation, not only was she forced to take another side, she was competing against a classmate and would receive a grade on her abilities and the outcome, so she took her research seriously and was open to understanding another viewpoint.

This open-mindedness serves her well in many scenarios, especially during COVID-19 when all over the globe there is great debate occurring. Some people are being quite accusatory and derogative towards others with opposing viewpoints, while others are hiding their opinions for fear of being judged.

Thankfully, she’s been able to listen, ask questions, and find her own evolving truth among a variety of opinions from family members, friends, high school classmates, and the news. She can openly and confidently share her views without making others wrong,

With stay-at-home orders and more time on many people’s hands, many have been doing their own research and asking questions such as:

  1. Is the threat of COVID-19 as serious as some say?
  2.  Is collateral damage of the mental health issues and devastated economy worse than the virus?
  3. Are masks effective and necessary? 
  4. Should we be focusing on developing natural herd immunity?
  5. How can we get children back to school so their education and wellbeing doesn’t suffer any more?
  6. Are we in good hands with the government, or are our legislative leaders making hasty and detrimental decisions without proper discussion?

The list goes on…

In fact, the Canadian government did a recent poll regarding COVID-19, and the opinions are as vast and wide as the geographical reach of our nation!

Many are walking the middle road, in a truly Canadian manner. However, there are those who are doing their own investigating and have come to believe that it’s not any worse than a bad seasonal flu, and that perhaps it is being made into a bigger issue for ulterior gains, like the pursuit of a mandatory vaccine by the pharmaceutical companies who would earn billions of dollars. On the other side of the spectrum are those who are primarily informed by the mainstream media, and they are afraid to leave their homes in concern for their health and safety.

Since the future of ourselves, our children, our neighbours, our country and our economy is at stake, we are all motivated to figure this out as quickly, accurately and proactively as possible.

In the pursuit of best solutions, I hope we all take time to truly consider every possible angle and a wider range of opinions and research, just as we would if we had to defend each side in an actual debate.

The reason is (as in the example with my daughter who in the end received rave reviews from her classmates and high mark from her teacher) this level of sincere curiosity and research is not only informing, it can be extremely eye opening and can lead us to powerful information and viewpoints that we may have never considered before.      

In the realm of Brain Fitness, this will also be an excellent learning opportunity, grow your brain reserve, enhance your cognitive flexibility, and likely make you more interesting, an effective debater and a person with a well informed opinion.

To your Fit Brain & Fit Life,