My mother was deaf. Her deafness came as a result of whooping cough when she was just three years old. She had worked for my father as a housekeeper. He would leave her instructions by leaving notes on the kitchen table. She had only learned finger spelling when she went to school at the Rochester School for the Deaf. She learned sign language much later. My father had never bothered to learn finger spelling or sign language. Even as I was growing up, he continued to leave written notes if I was not around to translate for him. My mother taught me to read early. So as soon as I became somewhat proficient at spelling, I took on the role of interpreter for my mother. I wasn’t always happy in the role then, but now I really appreciate what it did for me. My role also made it easier for my father to communicate with my mother.
Along with regular interpretation, I also became the mediator between my parents in the midst of their arguments and disagreements. Each would try to win me to their side, all the while, I was translating between them. At the time, I feared siding with one side or the other for I did not want the anger to extend to me. But one important thing that I did learn was that there is always more than one side of an argument.
Any time more than one person is involved in anything, there is a chance of conflict. I listened to my mother’s reasoning. From her point of view, her stance made perfect sense. And many times, I could see her side of it. I would also listen to my father’s reasoning. From his point of view, his stance made perfect sense, too. I could see his side of it too. This occurred more often than not. My mother was right and my father was right. How can that be? Based on their own experiences, their own thoughts, their own values, and the information that they had at hand, they were both right – yet they disagreed. Many times, they disagreed passionately.
The majority of times, my father would simply acquiesce. Then what would confuse me was when he did, it made my mother even more upset. She wanted to win because she felt that she was right, not win because he simply gave in. It was yet another lesson for me to learn.
I try to be mindful that when someone disagrees with me, that they are not wrong but merely hold a different viewpoint than mine. That is all that it means, that we think differently. I believe true communication happens when we are allowed to share viewpoints between each other and move towards a common ground. Even if we agree to disagree, it is an excellent learning opportunity.
‘If I do not believe as you believe, it proves that you do not believe as I believe and that is all it proves.’ – Amish Wisdom
It isn’t always about right or wrong, sometimes it means just different ways of thinking and holding differing opinions. If there were only one side to an argument, then it wouldn’t be an argument. I surely hope your arguments are few and your communication is rich. Take care.