The gift of changing your mind

I’m supposed to be cooking dinner, but Elfwyn (I finally came up with her screen name!) is asleep, and Scout is out back with Grandma. So I’m granting myself twelve minutes to crank out this post that I’ve been mulling over.

In the past couple of weeks, my respect for two different authors has grown enormously because of their willingness to publicly admit that they made a mistake. Not only that, they both took steps to correct what they had said wrong.

Our world today seems to view any change of opinion as weak, wishy-washy, spineless. But the thing is, no one on this earth is perfect. Not even super awesome authors. Sometimes we say dumb things, do dumb things, even believe dumb things. And when these dumb things are pointed out to us, our first instinct is to defend ourselves. After all, nobody likes to be called out, especially not in a space as public as social media.

It takes incredible strength to bite down on our pride and admit that we were wrong. Or even that we might be wrong. It takes self control to stop talking long enough to listen to another who has a different perspective than us. It takes greatness of heart to try to view the world through another’s eyes.

But the effort is worth it. When people seek to truly understand each other, everyone comes out of it changed, even if they agree to disagree in the end.

I’m going to leave you with this great paragraph from Neil Gaiman, because the man knows his way around words:

“What I tend to see happening more and more is people retreating into their own corners. People seem scared to get things wrong or be shouted at so they form villages in which they agree with every other member, and maybe they go out and shout at the people in the next village for fun, but there’s no interchange of ideas going on. I think we have to encourage the idea that you’re allowed to think things. I have thought a great many stupid things over the years, and I can tell you that there’s not one stupid thing that I ever thought where I changed my mind because someone shouted at me or threatened to kill me. On the other hand, having great discussions with good friends, possibly over a drink, has definitely changed my mind and made me try to do better. You’re allowed to do better, but we have to let people do better.” (source)

The Lie That Tells the Truth

“We writers – and especially writers for children, but all writers – have an obligation to our readers: it’s the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were – to understand that truth is not in what happens but what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all.” Neil Gaiman