By in Personal

Teaching Children to Take Ownership of Their Opinions

Gray is an ugly color...classical music is stupid...no one in their right mind eats anchovies...how could you not have liked that movie?

Each of these are statements of opinion, but rather than the speaker taking responsibility for his/her opinion, the statement is thrust at another person or group of people. The statements are judgments of someone else's likes and dislikes -- and why would/should we sit in judgment of such things?

When my granddaughter pointed to my piece of pizza and said, "Black olives are gross," I told her two things. One: It's impolite to criticize the food on someone else's plate and Two: You can say, "I think black olives are gross." The latter statement is true -- you don't like black olives. The first statement condemns black olives for everyone and implies whoever eats them must be weird.

This is something I first had to work on in myself -- and I have. It doesn't mean I don't make broad statements any more, because sometimes I still do. I have a jar that I must pay quarters into when I slip. These days, though, instead of saying, "That car is ugly," I say, "That isn't a car I'd care to own."

I know, I know -- the world is full of major problems, so why would I make this small thing such an issue? Because the power of words can have great impact. Courtesy and etiquette are not valued in today's society as they once were, but that doesn't mean they are not still important.

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Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/boy-man-bowing-smile-happy-male-312305/ by ClkerFreeVectorImages

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Comments

CoralLevang wrote on September 5, 2015, 9:11 PM

Feisty56 I do not think that black olives or anchovies are gross, and I would enjoy both on my pizza, thank you! But, would it be alright if you left off the pineapple on my quarter of the pizza, and put it in a bowl, instead? I'll eat mine for dessert.

emoticon :smile:

Feisty56 wrote on September 5, 2015, 9:22 PM

I can do that. : )

As soon as I posted this, I realized what I was talking about was assertive communication versus aggressive communication. Ugh! The wheels spin too slowly at times, but at least they still spin.

CoralLevang wrote on September 5, 2015, 9:30 PM

You mean.....you don't ALWAYS put that stuff on pizza? You SHOULD do that all the time, 'cuz you never know when I might stop over for dinner, and it IS all about me, you know.......

You NEVER tell me what you do. You ALWAYS leave me out of the loop here. JEEZuz....
*rolls my eyes*

I hope you realize just how difficult it was for me to write like that. ROFL

lexiconlover wrote on September 5, 2015, 9:38 PM

I have only been known to eat black olives at two points in my life. One when I was quite young, and would stick them on my fngers and eat them off. Great memories here guys :P The other being a very intoxicated night in Nashville, believe me when I say black olives and whiskey do not look as pretty coming back up as they did going down.

But I did enjoy this post. A lot, even if I don't enjoy black olives. :P

Feisty56 wrote on September 5, 2015, 9:58 PM

And now I'm ROFL. Thanks! : )

VinceSummers wrote on September 5, 2015, 10:37 PM

I'd say the truth lies somewhere in the middle. There are absolute truths. There are relative truths. But I think your main point about not being quick to judge others is a valid one.

wolfgirl569 wrote on September 5, 2015, 10:48 PM

I dont like black olives so you can have mine also.I think we could all work on that a little more, but no matter what those Kia Souls are ugly emoticon :grin: Whenever I see one I expect to see a bobbing hamster head in the window.

Feisty56 wrote on September 5, 2015, 11:01 PM

Thank you!

I have the same memories of topping my fingers with olives when I as a kid. It must be a universal thing. : )

lexiconlover wrote on September 5, 2015, 11:10 PM

Pretty sure it is. I think everyone's done it. Lol

valmnz wrote on September 6, 2015, 12:04 AM

I know many adults who try the put others down approach by telling them what they think of their choices. And, while I like black olives I like green olives even better. But I don't like pizza all that much.

WordChazer wrote on September 6, 2015, 5:43 AM

CoralLevang I would disagree with you there. You might prefer to eat your pineapple as dessert (and so will I) but on my homemade ham and pineapple pizza, a joint effort between me and my husband, it is really something rather else. It even tastes great cold - I had it thus for breakfast one day last week. Yes, I know, gross *grin*. However as I am firmly in the 'hold the olives' and 'please no fish' camp, it would probably be easier if you swapped your pineapple for my olives and anchovies. That way we're both happy.

Too many people these days can't see others' opinions as valid, and sweeping statements are all the vogue. It would be so boring if every human was alike - we might as well have come out of Stepford Wives or Pink Floyd's Brick in the Wall mincer. Having different tastes, opinions and beliefs is what the world needs to get along, not one bunch trying to kill off another bunch because their opinions differ.

Last Edited: September 6, 2015, 10:59 AM

AliCanary wrote on September 6, 2015, 9:01 AM

This is a great post! We could all use to be far less judgmental, although we are certainly still entitled to our opinions. And it's definitely not "minor"--it's called consideration, and we can all use more of that!

Feisty56 wrote on September 6, 2015, 9:53 AM

I think it's easier for adults to appreciate the subtle differences between "you" statements (implied in "only tone-deaf people like hip-hop music) and "I" statements that show ownership of opinion (I don't like to listen to hip-hop music). So as Grandma, I've taken on the responsibility to help the kids arrive at that understanding.

Feisty56 wrote on September 6, 2015, 10:31 AM

Lol, I hear you about the Kia Souls, but you know, they've grown on me. Doubt I will ever own one, sure don't want to be mistaken for a bobblehead hamster. : )

Feisty56 wrote on September 6, 2015, 10:35 AM

I had a brother-in-law who would announce how stupid everyone else was because they didn't like the same music he did, or preferred another sports team...the subject didn't matter as much as the fact anyone would have the audacity to disagree with him. I think that's when I first became sensitive to that approach.

Green olives, black olives...I like them both. You're not a fan of pizza? It isn't my first choice for a meal, but do enjoy it from time to time. There's certainly plenty of other foods available to eat that are much healthier, that's for certain.

Feisty56 wrote on September 6, 2015, 10:38 AM

There is so much intolerance in the world, isn't there? It's amazing what a small reframing of thought and words can do to minimize the negative effects of same on oneself and others.

Feisty56 wrote on September 6, 2015, 10:41 AM

I think it's ironic in this culture of political correctness, generally aimed to give kinder, gentler terms to words and phrases that have been deemed sensitive that as a society there is less embracing of common courtesy.

And, thank you. : )

seren3 wrote on September 6, 2015, 2:04 PM

Feisty56 I agree conversation is often not as mannerly as it once was! I can appreciate anyone's opinion - if it's presented as one.

AliCanary wrote on September 6, 2015, 5:55 PM

Oh, Coral, you are such a hoot! I love both of you gals.

AliCanary wrote on September 6, 2015, 5:57 PM

I need pizza like I need air to breathe. I will take Val's piece, and black olives are okay, although I like the green ones better, too. Yum, salty!

Feisty56 wrote on September 6, 2015, 6:49 PM

Hmmmm....here's a little test to see just how much you love green olives: Have you ever drank any of the "juice" from the olive jar?

Feisty56 wrote on September 6, 2015, 6:51 PM

I agree with you-- I'm open to listening to other people's opinions, and even more so to understanding how they came to form that opinion. There are so many sides to nearly every issue and so many varied life experiences that the how and why is so interesting -- and may result in a change of my own opinion.

AliCanary wrote on September 6, 2015, 8:24 PM

Nah, but I have been known to pop one in my mouth and suck the juice from it!

chrisandmark wrote on September 6, 2015, 9:50 PM

I absolutely agree with you!

Feisty56 wrote on September 6, 2015, 10:17 PM

Thank you -- and appreciate you dropping by. : )

BarbRad wrote on September 7, 2015, 5:33 PM

I think it's an important distinction. Most people do seem to have a tendency to believe their opinions are true. The black olives are a good example.

Feisty56 wrote on September 7, 2015, 6:21 PM

Thank you, BarbRad . Just yesterday I had another opportunity to drive the lesson home when my 12-year-old grandson announced that all college football uniforms were nasty, except for that of the Ducks. I wish you could have seen his wide-eyed wonder as I explained to him the difference between speaking his opinion as in, "I think all..." He's a very intelligent young man, but also a bit hard-headed, so this Grandma will patiently take whatever opportunity comes to further my point/lesson.

alexdg1 wrote on September 8, 2015, 12:42 AM

While it is interesting and highly amusing to see that folks like olives, I must admit that I don't like olives. Bring on the Hawaiian pizza, though!

AliCanary wrote on September 8, 2015, 4:07 AM

I actually had some tonight! Yum :)

alexdg1 wrote on September 8, 2015, 7:58 AM

Which food? Olives, or Hawaiian pizza?

LoudMan wrote on September 8, 2015, 6:53 PM

Fantastic post on an excellent topic! This is something I, too, am working on in my real-world life. The big challenge for me is how there really are absolute truths and there are opinions and between me and the dunderheads I know, they get mixed up. Try telling preachy, bible-thumping co-workers that, while they're entitled to believe as they wish, to please drop the subject with me. I might as well bite them on their shoulders, as mad as they get at me for it. AND I SAY IT POLITELY. I really do.

Last Edited: September 8, 2015, 8:20 PM

LoudMan wrote on September 8, 2015, 6:57 PM

I actually like black olives on my Hawaiian pizza. Please don't kill me in my sleep.

AliCanary wrote on September 8, 2015, 7:32 PM

I had Hawaiian pizza. I've never had it with black olives, although I do think that adding onions gives it a nice savory hint.

LoudMan wrote on September 8, 2015, 8:18 PM

Onions? This is war!

Just kidding.

Feisty56 wrote on September 8, 2015, 10:15 PM

I understand your frustration with co-workers who proselytize and don't know if it will help you to turn a deaf ear or not, but those folks are likely of the belief that they must spread the Word, that it is required of them as believers.

LoudMan wrote on September 9, 2015, 6:41 AM

Are you serious? No response does any good with them. Ask them politely to stop and they keep going. Ignore them and they amp it up. Remind them they're on-the-job and this discussion is inappropriate and suddenly they're boo-hoo persecuted.



They're brainwashed robots. They're BORG. Resistance is futile. If they don't stop, I'm going to do a pattern interrupt on them and suggest their whole life is a lie (which it is anyway lulz).

I try to live and let live. I really do. But that's just not good enough for a pre-programmed zealot. They cannot be reasoned with.

Hopefully, this comment will help someone, somewhere snap out of it, though.

Last Edited: September 9, 2015, 6:44 AM