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Editorial: Back-to-school rules for arguing like an adult

September 18, 2018

Okay, everybody take your seats. Get out your pencils and start taking notes.

As school reopens and we all get back into the real world schedules of bus stops, homework and football games, let’s take a minute for review. There are a lot of things that happen in a classroom that we all would do well to employ in our adult lives.

Don’t pass notes, for instance. In our digital world, that could be interpreted in a social media context. Remember the horror of having a note confiscated by a teacher and read out loud in math? Yeah, that’s literally what happens whenever someone reads the comment you made on Facebook about someone else’s post. Reply to all posts, tweets, snaps, etc., like Sister Mary Catherine is going to read it out loud.

Raise your hand. In third grade, this was so everyone wasn’t shouting the answer at the same time. As an adult, it’s a reminder to take a minute, listen to the other person’s position and think about your response before you just blunder out there with “That’s stupid, and let me tell you why.” Because maybe, just maybe, you’re wrong.

Maybe most important? Do the reading.

It was important when you tried to fake it through the essay question sophomore year in history, and it’s important now. But even more important than doing the reading is questioning the validity of the source material. Just because your cousin’s wife’s uncle shared it doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

Before you cement your opinion -- and either open your mouth or limber up your Facebooking fingers -- just do a little searching. For example? That forward going around about the South American spider biting people in bathrooms? It’s not real.

If we can all follow these guidelines and use a little common sense, we can have some great conversations and healthy arguments this year.

There will be a quiz.

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