Professor Gibson
Thought Bubbles

I Want Them To…

Stock photo by Free-Photos at Pixabay.

I love working with college students. It is a pivotal moment in their lives. They come to college with bright eyes and full of dreams. The first year of college, they are faced with many challenges. They must navigate a new environment, a new city, and a new life. They must do all of this without the daily support system they have relied on for the past 18+ years (their parents). I consider it a privilege to walk alongside them for 2-4 years while they discover who they are and make steps toward who they want to be.

Monday through Friday for 16 weeks I stand in front of my students and try to help them reconcile what they are learning and what they see in the media. This is not an easy task. They are inundated with images of hate, divisive politics, and inconsistent messages. On Tuesday, the messages they are hearing will come to a head in the midterm elections. We’ve been following the twists and turns of the past several months blow by blow in class. So, what do I tell them on Monday or Wednesday? How do I give them hope in what appears to be a dark time for all? I talk about values. I instill in them that knowing what you value and understanding what others value is the key to effective communication.

I do not care who they vote for. I do not want to change their core values. I want them to stand up for those values and I want them to do so in a way that respects the voice of all. I want them to speak truth to power. I want them to listen to the other side. I want them to try to find where our values intersect and work together to solve our differences. I want them to participate in the process and if they do not like the outcome, I want them to take actions to change the process. I want them to take the time to understand the other side. I want them to realize we have more in common than we think, but we prioritize our values differently. I want them to know that is ok. I want them to welcome other viewpoints. I want them to know that if someone disagrees with you, it will not harm you. I want them to see it as an opportunity to learn. I want them to not face an identity crisis if their values change. I want them to be informed regarding all viewpoints. I want them to be able to represent all sides fairly. I want them to find hope in our country and see the possibility of the future. If we can all do this, we will create a better society for tomorrow.