Different Opinions

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Start talking about cats with a group of breeders and no matter what the topic may be, the discussion will be likely to include different opinions. Different people do things differently. What works with one breed may not work with another. Cats are individuals and what is best for one cat may not be right for its sibling. So, there will always be different opinions.

We exchange ideas to learn from one another.

But sometimes, discussions deteriorate into arguments, especially if two people believe passionately in opposing opinions on a subject... and lack the maturity or the skills to be able to discuss their differences without quarreling.

Even the most heated discussion can be conducted without bickering, if we all can learn to accept a few ground rules...

Different Strokes For Different Folks

Accept and understand that not only should people not agree about everything, having different points of view can lead to progress. Before Christopher Columbus, people thought the world was flat.

Discussion not Argument

A healthy discussion creates an atmosphere where information and knowledge can be shared freely and without judgment. Arguments are counterproductive to learning.

Respect

Having respect for a differing point of view is the only way to have a discussion that doesn't deteriorate into a shouting match. Be passionate about your position, but do not allow your passion to overwhelm your good manners in allowing someone to be as passionate about their position.

Agree To Disagree

Not everyone will agree with your point of view. Be accepting and listen respectfully. Perhaps you will learn something new.

There Are No Stupid Questions

There are no stupid questions. Each breeder begins at some point as a newbie... so remember the time when you knew nothing and be understanding of the "newbie" in that position.

Everyone Has A Right To Their Voice

Whether one is a newcomer to the cat fancy, or an experienced national winner, each of us has the right to our opinion.

Hit Your Pause Button

If you start to lose your patience or become upset during a discussion, hit your pause button. This is especially helpful when sending emails to a public cat list. Take the extra time to read emails more than once in case you have misunderstood what has been written. In the same vein, check that your own emails are clear in meaning and tone and cannot be misinterpreted.

Reveal Your Character

The way a person responds to someone whose opinion differs drastically from theirs, reveals their true character. Do you want to be the kind of person who resorts to snide remarks when someone opposes you? Or do you want to be known as the kind of person who can defend their beliefs with class and style while not allowing themselves to indulge in resorting to shouting or name calling? The choice is yours.

Learning and Sharing

If someone sets forth an idea and provides their reasoning, have the good manners to listen and consider its value. While it may not be something you will incorporate into your own care and breeding of you cats, all ideas deserve evaluation. Only by showing you are willing to listen to new ideas will people feel open to discussing topics, without fear of intimidation, judgment or interrogation.

Balance

Different opinions are healthy. They provide a balance. The reason things change and progress is because someone had a different idea. So... discuss, share, learn... and remember to speak gently to those whose opinion you do not share...

SPEAK GENTLY

by David Bates

Speak gently! -- It is better far
To rule by love, than fear --

Speak gently -- let not harsh words mar
The good we might do here!

Speak gently! -- Love doth whisper low
The vows that true hearts bind;
And gently Friendship's accents flow;
Affection's voice is kind.

Speak gently to the little child!
Its love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild: --
It may not long remain.

Speak gently to the young, for they
Will have enough to bear --
Pass through this life as best they may,
'T is full of anxious care!

Speak gently to the aged one,
Grieve not the care-worn heart;
The sands of life are nearly run,
Let such in peace depart!

Speak gently, kindly, to the poor;
Let no harsh tone be heard;
They have enough they must endure,
Without an unkind word!

Speak gently to the erring -- know,
They may have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
Oh, win them back again!

Speak gently! -- He who gave his life
To bend man's stubborn will,
When elements were in fierce strife,
Said to them, "Peace, be still."

Speak gently! -- 't is a little thing
Dropped in the heart's deep well;
The good, the joy, which it may bring,
Eternity shall tell.

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