I'm still not anywhere close to mediocre when it comes to playing golf (or is it "golfing", inquiring minds want to know?). And by that, I mean I am still horrible. But I still love going out there to play. Think about it...what could be better than to be in nature, with my sweet husband (who, by the way, is a golf legend), and getting to view pretty neighborhoods, homes, yards (oh wait, this is where Dave says, "You're supposed to be focused on playing golf, not paying attention to 'pretty houses'"---I say, "Why can't a girl do both?"), and maybe par a hole or two every great once in awhile? I've come a long way from crying because I couldn't hit the ball to not caring. Oh, I care...I am just not going to let a not-so-good golf game make me cry anymore. I love playing with Dave, too, as he is SO much better than me, I get a chance to see what a real golfer looks like.
Dave has always said he doesn't mind playing with people who are better than he is. He said he thinks it makes him step up his game. I think that is code for: when he plays with me, he can slack off, but I don't want to ask.
I liken his view on golf to what I believe in my heart to be the right way to live my life---stick with the winners. I need to stick with people who are instruments of peace, not vehicles full of poison. That goes for so many aspects of my life, but I also think there is a really good reason for this pearl of wisdom---we need to stick with people who will challenge our thinking. Left to my own devices, my mind is a dangerous neighborhood. Being around people who challenge me has proved to be quite lucrative. I always learn so much more than if I am just stuck in my own rut. How does this apply to me, professionally and philosophically? It means that I have to admit I don't know everything about ANYthing, and that, while I can contribute to a body of knowledge on certain topics, I need to be willing to listen to other people's perspectives.
In an Education Law class I am currently teaching for students getting their Master's Degrees in Educational Leadership, the students are posed with a dilemma about what they would do if they were school leaders who were faced with a bullying situation. In the scenario, the bullies are lobbing racial slurs at fellow students who come to school in t-shirts that depict flags from various nations. My students are asked to state their course of action and defend it with case law and school policies. Most everyone can agree that bullying is not okay, no matter what, and that they would discipline the bullies. But there are differing shades on what might be done with the t-shirt wearers. Some say that all these students wearing Mexican flags (or insert the name of another country) on their t-shirts are trying to "stir up trouble", thereby causing enough disruption for the school leader to ask them to change shirts. Other students, however, state that the First Amendment gives the students the right to wear whatever t-shirts they want, as long as their intent is not to cause disruption in the school. I admit it: I love watching my students debate this issue back and forth, challenging each other's thinking by asking questions like, "I understand your perspective, but I am curious what legal cases support your position?" I am pretty involved with my courses I teach, and I often spur on and facilitate the conversation. This week, I don't need to do that. The students are respectfully disagreeing with one another, and providing legal rationale for their stances. I am proud.
I truly believe my students are the role models for what I would love to see in our world today. We can disagree, but we don't have to be disagreeable. We can hold our own viewpoints, but we don't have to shove them down the throats of our fellow humans. I want to have my thinking expanded, challenged, and broadened. I pray that we might all see the value in this type of discourse.
No matter what, I am sticking with the winners, though.
Just for today, perhaps we should consider what that means in our own lives. And maybe, just maybe, we can make disagreeing respectfully just "par for the course".