Probably almost 12 years ago now, I was chatting with my brother. It was one of those long, meandering conversations about life, goals, hopes, stuff like that. It may have even been the night we discovered Jtv and stayed up late into the night, talking and drinking and realized the next morning that we somehow purchased like 5 loose Padparadscha sapphires. They were just so cheap and pretty!!!
Anyhoo, at some point the discussion landed on my own anxieties about my relationship with my boyfriend and if he was the guy for me in the long run. My concerns were that we saw the world too differently. We had different political ideologies and thoughts about social and cultural issues. I mean, our voter registration cards were the proof. One had an R and one had a D. What would that mean for us? What would that mean if we had kids? How would we know how to raise them? What values do we impart? I wasn’t sure if that was just a sign to me that we were too different.
My brother just chuckled and said we were great together. He suggested that it may actually be BETTER for our future children in the long run. It could teach them how to examine issues from all sides, use critical thinking skills, and come up with their own thoughts and opinions. I’m pretty sure at the time that his answer irritated me more than reassured me, mostly because (and I never would have admitted this) I was too afraid of raising kids that might use those critical thinking skills and come to a different conclusion than me about something when, clearly, I am right.
Fast forward to today. I did end up marrying that guy and have a great, independent thinking kid with him. We still have some differences in how we see the world, but it turns out that we are alike in more ways than we are different. We value hard work, kindness, honesty and family. We are fiercely loyal, and wickedly sarcastic. Our greatest goal in life is to be good parents to our daughter. When we do disagree, we try to be respectful to each other and if we just can’t in the moment, we have gotten pretty good about knowing when to take our corners. I feel more comfortable with the thought that my child will use her critical thinking skills to come to her own conclusions that may actually be different than mine. But I also hope that we are teaching her to have respectful, constructive- rather than destructive- conversations with people that have differing opinions.
And honestly, the difference that has affected us the most in our day to day lives isn’t our political affiliations. It’s the fact that we don’t come down on the same side in the Coke vs. Pepsi argument. (In case you are wondering, the correct choice is ALWAYS Coke.)