Thursday, April 3, 2014

C: Compromise (A-Z Blog Challenge: Evocative words)

As a mom and a teacher, I am often trying to help people understand the art of compromise. We
promote it as a method of conflict resolution. And it does seem to work, sort of, under some circumstances. Even if we can't come to a true compromise, we at least learn how to negotiate with each other kindly.

If I want to go the movies and you want to sit and talk, maybe we can watch a movie, then sit and talk about it afterwards. That's a nice situation. We both get what we want. Of course, if we both get what we want, maybe that's not a real compromise. We just decided to do both things. No one gave anything up.

Hmmmm . . .so let's say that you want to play Pinypons and I want to make cupcakes. If we're going to compromise, we try to find middle ground where you give something up and so do I.  If we make cupcakes with a Pinypon theme, then I kind of won, because we didn't really play Pinypons, but we did make cupcakes. If we have an imaginary cupcake party with our Pinypons, then you kind of won, because we didn't really make cupcakes, but we did play Pinypons.

So, maybe that's part of why compromise is tricksy (like Hobbits).  No one wins. Maybe we both end up happy enough, if the stakes were low. Or maybe neither of us is happy now. Or maybe neither of us is happy and something important is genuinely lost.

In adult life, compromise takes on some really negative connotations.
  • "I'm sorry Mr. President, security has been compromised!"
  • "Senator Fathead was caught in a compromising position this past week." 
  • "It compromised his chances for a promotion." 
  • "The painter compromised his artistic integrity when he added the CEO to his work."
  • "The stock he own in the company compromises the impartiality of the judge."
  • "She had to compromise her dream and accept a smaller garden."
  • "You can't compromise when it comes to your health!"
  • "She compromised her principles and accepted the new deal, even though it didn't include her partner."
  • "The stability of the entire structure is compromised by the shifts after the earthquake."
Generally, "compromise" is not a good thing, it seems. There are losses, and sometimes those losses are not acceptable--integrity, respect, dreams. Things that should NOT have been compromised.

I notice, too, that the phrase comes in passive phrasing a lot. Something "is compromised" or "has been compromised." It's something that happens to a person, rather than an action a person takes.

So, what do I teach my baby? I guess I'll compromise on my teaching of the art of compromise: it's not always the way to go. There are times when a girl should fight tooth and nail for her side and there are times when it's okay to cave in to the other side. The trick is in knowing the difference!

This post is part of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.

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