How to Talk About Moral Differences

How to Talk About Moral Differences

by | Jun 29, 2021 | Parenting Adolescents, Trending, Tween Times

How to Talk About Moral Differences

By JoAnn Schauf

We’re so much better at communicating compassion, empathy, and kindness. Those on the receiving end appreciate our genuine care and concern and its boost to the relationship. But what happens when someone says something with which you disagree? That fine line between accepting your friend, spouse, or child as a person is one thing and a valuable thing. Comments that you disagree with morally lead to another category altogether.

I had this conversation recently.

“I’m so fond of Kate; she’s a true friend,” I said.

“I don’t get how you can be friends with her and gay people,” Morgan, a good friend, said.

My heart hammered. How would I respond? I couldn’t let the comment go unattended.  I didn’t want to defend myself or my friend. There was no way I was going to withdraw. Admittedly, I had a twang of resistance and a chord of discomfort. I wondered how a gay person had negatively affected or threatened Morgan’s life. And who was she to judge me? And, then the reverse – was I judging her?

The fact that my friend was gay had zero effect on our friendship. We worked together for years, and I didn’t know she was gay for some time. And when I found out by chance, it made no difference.

Obviously, my values and Morgan’s clashed. But I didn’t want to speak in a way that escalated our differences. Rather, I want to impart info that might enlighten her.

“Help me understand what makes you draw a line in the sand. Pat and my other gay friends feel that their dignity as humans is not respected when they hear remarks like this. We all share the same humanity, the same planet, and even some beliefs.“

She responded, “It’s just plain wrong!”

“My friend Kate, like you, is an extraordinary person. I couldn’t imagine not having both of you in my life.”

“I have to think about how that works. I had no idea you had gay friends.”

That was all I wanted – for her to think about it.

We owe it to each other to look through different lenses and respectfully embrace discussions when controversial issues arise.


©JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You  2021 All rights reserved