Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Win... or lose - what can you gain?

To win... when you lose an argument?
      What’s more important?
A relationship or an argument?

It’s a no brainer to some folks I suppose.  Unless you have been taught to enjoy the challenge of a quality “discussion”!  

There aren’t many of these nowadays it seems to me.  Folks just get nasty.  And I have fallen into that trap too.
But I smile as I think of many years ago when I decided to lose an argument because I saw a higher purpose.

Not trained to lose...

Actually, losing an argument isn’t part of my upbringing. But my father had a purpose in teaching me to stand up for my position.
I believe he was trying to help me avoid some of the stupider teenage episodes by teaching me not to follow whatever the “crowd” was doing.
And... I think he secretly just loved to “argue”.


The only time I remember well though is when we were arguing over a particular religious belief.  About who was God.  
Kind of a hard topic at any age and I think I was only about nine years old.

I was no match for my Dad.
I struggled to convince him with everything my childish mind knew but I finally conceded defeat.
Afterwards, all he did was walk by me as he left the room and quietly said, “You should have stuck to your guns.  You were right.”
I was totally shocked!

And I was “hooked”.
So when I grew up I still enjoyed a good “discussion”.

What happened later...

“Fast forward” many years later.
We had a distant relative that we only met at gatherings once a year or so.

He was a brain surgeon.
What I have discovered from some of these medical specialists is that they are convinced they are always right.  And I figured they needed this psychologically because of the traumatic decisions they had to make.

But that didn’t mean I gave him any leeway!
And it also didn’t mean that I enjoyed losing an argument!

But while traveling on the way to one family gathering, I decided I would lose the first argument we had.  (Notice it was just a practical conclusion that we would argue!  But also, I only had control over what I did.)

So what happened?

 I remember him standing in front of the fireplace in the home and I was so relieved when I discovered  the subject wasn’t that important to me.  I really didn’t care which way the argument went!
And I lost the argument.

But what I gained was so much more important.

I gained the ability to really enjoy the presence of a wonderful man.  One who was very intelligent (doesn’t mean he was always right though!) and one who had gone through many struggles.

This became a “teaching moment” for me that I recalled many times when I was challenged to argue.   

Although this episode happened many years ago, I was surprised when I heard he had recently asked a relative about me...  and if I was still arguing!  (I guess you can tell that after that one time of losing an argument I didn’t give up challenging ideas!)

At his funeral recently - he was 88 years old - I know the world is going to miss him and his “suggestions”.
I do.

(Rest in peace Dr. Al.)