New traditions

Great food and great conversation, whether you agree with one another or not

Although retailers would like to push the holiday season back to late October, I consider Thanksgiving to be the start of festivities.

I don’t like turkey that much, but I do have many fond memories of sitting around the table with family and friends and having great discussions over the meal.

But this is the time of year when, in addition to the appearance of holiday decorations on every storefront, we’ll soon see articles with tips for “how to avoid conflict” or “things you should never discuss” at Thanksgiving dinner.

Don’t avoid it

This holiday season, our gift to you is the exact opposite advice: Don’t avoid it.

All year, we bring you the content and the confidence to have conversations with people about issues that matter to you. It would be awfully strange if, suddenly, at the holidays we said, “Hey, take a break from that! Be sure to avoid the topics that might cause controversy!”

Maybe this year is the time to start a new tradition at the holiday dinner table, one of productive conversations among people who disagree. We know it isn’t easy, but we also know that, if you do it, you’ll gain understanding of others, and, whether you change your opinions or not, you’ll surely refine and strengthen your own thinking.

A little help from some friends

To help you start this new tradition, we’re bringing you some of the best ideas we’ve heard about disagreement this year on this week’s podcast. Our friends Liz Joyner of The Village Square, Samar Ali of Millions of Conversations, and Erec Smith of Free Black Thought all think the world can be a better place if we learn how to discuss tough subjects and listen to those with whom we disagree. I learned a lot from all three, and I hope you will, too.

Wherever you are and whoever you are with this Thanksgiving, know that all of us at Civil Squared wish you great food, great company, and great conversation!

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