Our Parent Council hosted a conversation with Head of School Marie Kidd and The Rev. Ken Malcolm about teaching civil discourse to and practicing it with our children.
They shared with parents of students kindergarten through 8th grade how we can model behavior for our children to teach them how to dig through arguments and disagreements and have a conversation with someone who thinks differently.
“Research shows the feeling of contempt for someone who disagrees with us lights up the pleasure center in our brains,” said Father Ken. “It feels good. And another factor is social media platforms are designed to reward contempt. It isn’t enough to simply avoid the argument; we need to have the disagreement without the contempt.”
They talked about how our first response should be to listen, and how ours job is not to convince others they are wrong and we are right. Father Ken suggested asking questions such as, “Is this a new idea, or something you’ve always thought?” or “Tell me about your sources.” He emphasized that people want to be heard more than they want to be right.
Parents also discussed how important it is to teach our children to listen and be kind not only in person, but online as well. Other discussions during the hour were around how parents can help their children learn to advocate for themselves, and the resources available to them through their teachers and counselors.
“As members of this Trinity community, it is all of our jobs to model how to listen and understand the experience of others,” said Kidd. “Here at school, and beyond.”
She closed with a reminder and invitation to parents to always let teachers, counselors and administrators know you want to partner with us. Our doors are always open.