Tuesday, February 5, 2013

An Educated Mind


Education 2-5-13



It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”—                                Aristotle




            Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I’m operating under the influence of pain medication.  Whatever is going on with my back is still going on, and this is my late night at school, plus I had to go in earlier than normal for a PTK meeting, so it’s been a long day.  The constantly alternating ibuprofen and acetaminophen just wasn’t going to cut it tonight, so I opted for something stronger.  But, I’m a wimp when it comes to medicine; the stuff hits me like a ton of bricks.  Consequently, it has already taken me just over half an hour to look up two very simple pieces of information on the Internet for an assignment, and I’m guessing close to fifteen minutes to type these first few sentences.  All I’m saying is, bear with me, and we’ll get through this together.

At any rate, I don’t really have anything too complicated to talk about tonight, and I think it’s a good thing.  Mostly I wanted to say that I had a pretty enjoyable night at school tonight.  Like I said, Monday is my late night, with a long session of Domestic Relations.  It’s one of two classes I’d been thinking about dropping, when I was considering putting my schedule at a more manageable 15 hours.  It’s not a required course, and it is the one that keeps me on campus until almost ten o’clock, so it seemed like a reasonable one to consider.  As it turns out, I didn’t drop either one of them (today was the last day to do so with a refund), but I’m really glad I held on to this one. 

I’m not really sure yet which type of law setting I’m hoping to get into once I graduate, so I’m trying to spread my electives out into a pretty broad scope of topics, and family law seemed like a skill set that might be in demand, even if it seems like a pretty stressful way to make a living.  What I wasn’t really counting on, though, was enjoying the classroom discussions so much.  As I think I may have mentioned a time or two, I am often frustrated by my fellow Oklahomans, as our viewpoints on many things diverge in a great many ways.  Not that I mind differing opinions, of course, but I have to admit that I grow weary of justifications that are usually some variation of “because the Bible says so”, or “that’s the way it’s always been”. 

So, as we approached tonight’s discussion on marriage and divorce, with the necessary forays into gender roles and same-sex marriage, I have to say that my classmates surprised me just a little bit.  Not because I found myself agreeing with them—though I did find common ground with a larger percentage of folks than is normal—but because we got through two and half hours or so of class time with rational conversation and civil debate.  Not that there weren’t plenty of faith-based beliefs, but they were followed with explanations of what those beliefs meant to the individuals and how they felt their lives were impacted by certain societal changes.  On the other side of one discussion was a classmate who felt a sense of betrayal at having served our country in uniform for over fourteen years, and yet still she is denied the right to marry a spouse of her choosing, yet she was respectful of the gentleman who feels that we’d all be better off if we could go back to the days of Ward and June Cleaver.  Honestly, it was a respectful dialogue all evening long, and I appreciate that. 

There are certain topics that I think have opinions so ingrained in people that they are unlikely to ever change, but unlikely doesn’t mean impossible.  And, even if everyone never agrees, I think if we can truly understand the other point of view, we’ve made great strides toward coming together as a unified society willing to work together for the greater good.  And I think putting people together in a room to debate ideas, with the only agenda being shared learning, is the most important thing a school can do.