There are so many subjects that I feel strongly about. When I was younger, the friends I had and the people I worked with would receive an earful not knowing they were the audience surrounding my soapbox. However with age came maturity, acceptance, and the ability to keep my mouth shut. Then I became a mother and my soapbox has been dusted off. Since then I have taken a few stances and broached a few subjects that has guaranteed me never winning a Miss Congeniality title. In fact, just this summer I lost a friend, someone I had know since 7th grade, because I decided to confront an issue instead of just saying oh well, that's just how she is. I had no idea at the time that expressing my opinion and hurt would effectively kill a 25 year old friendship. But it did teach me, albeit painfully, where I stood as her friend.

But does it seem like every four years your personal values, the values you teach and show your children , the same values you wish others had are tested? I find that I am defending my own beliefs and values and not just with others but to myself. And if I express the beliefs I have and the values that I hold important I must support them with facts, not just paraphrases, not just ideals and common sense, but with hardcore facts. Am I the only one that does this or feels like this?

Yes, it is true the best way to not have to defend your beliefs or values is to refrain from talking about religion or politics. But every four years I am captivated by the spin, the prospect of a new leader, the anticipation of victory or defeat. Plus, I have some very intelligent friends with some very distinct values and beliefs that are similar in some areas but polar opposite in others. Debating the issues of the day or a live debate becomes something worthy of discussion and not something to suppress.

I am learning to listen and I am open to the idea I could be wrong, presenting the facts, just the facts, without a viewpoint can help firm up or shape what I believe and stand for. And I appreciate that here in America we have the right to these discussions that can at times be heated and disappointing. We also have the right, if not the duty, to research each others viewpoints and how they reached that conclusion. We can then discuss, or argue, what we have heard or read without fearing imprisonment or retribution. Researching and learning both viewpoints while constantly checking the facts against your own beliefs should not be compromised.

The facts are out there, they just have to be unearthed and then separated from the talking points. Compromise is important for building and maintaining relationships but so is integrity. And sometime having integrity will mean standing up for an unpopular viewpoint, it can mean leaving an organization that no longer has the same values you hold dear, and sometimes it can mean a loss of a friendship. (or in some cases deleting a blog from your google reader)

But if anyone is learning to compromise it is me. The mother to my step kids and therefore the ex-wife of my husband is coming over for cake and ice-cream to celebrate their daughter's 10th birthday. This will be the first time she and I have been in the same room outside of a courtroom. You know what is bringing us together? Our values and our belief that all children should be treated fairly and that children are more important than ourselves.
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