Cleaning Out the Closets

Cleaning Out the Closets

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.

By Blaney Pridgen

Most of us assume that we are relatively open-minded.  Some of us might even go so far as to claim that we are open to considering new ideas and forming new opinions.  Truth is most of us are none of the above.  It’s hard work maintaining an interest and openness to new ideas.  It’s even harder work to change one’s mind and adopt them!  Honestly, it is easier to stick with what we know and avoid anyone or anything that questions our personal universe.  Yet, this is a new year.  We know not what it will bring forth but might like to be ready for whatever.  A little more open-mindedness might come in handy.  Afterall no one knows it all.  (Well, some of us act and talk like we do, which is why open-minded people find us boring and impossible to work with.)  So, we might want to work on our open-mindedness, sort of like losing some weight or cleaning out the closets.

Here are some thoughts on what might help us cultivate a more open mind:1. Copious and diversified reading.  Facebook, mystery and romance novels, and pious devotional literature don’t count.2. Occasionally watching news and opinion networks with which you usually disagree.  3. Listening closely to (not arguing with) those with whom you often disagree about any or everything.4. Studying something new and unexplored in your experience.  A little bit is better than none.5. Making a friendship with someone whose life experience is very different from your own.6. Being more concerned with the right questions much more so than the right answers about life.  7. Cultivate tolerance.  Pick out something or someone that angers you in any way.  Try to figure out exactly why and desire to work past that.8. Reject party spirit, tribalism, and overidentification with any special interest group.9. Order something different off the menu.10. For religious folk and the spiritual ones as well, ask God to speak to you in some way and actively listen through meditation, contemplation, yoga, or a walk in the woods.  At least for a couple of months, let go of your laundry list of prayer requests.  Sometimes the Lord likes to slip in a few thoughts too.  

And now to the old folks and those who are “old at heart” pitifully regardless of how young in years…Aging is almost always not much fun physically; however, aging can be extremely exciting and fun intellectually.  That is, if one keeps an open mind.  An aging populace (in years or disposition) can become a danger to our nation, if a large aging electorate believes that living a certain number of years makes one an expert on the truth without the cultivation of an open mind.  Indeed, stagnant minds coping with aging bodies are hindrances to dynamic free societies, when they vote according to what they thought thirty years ago with no growth in between.  

Happy New Year.  Make it new, at least in some way for the good of us all.