We can disagree, but do so with respect


We are in a new age of questioning, challenging and searching. While we are searching for the answers that will best take care of us and our needs, we are often neglecting the communal interest. That means determining what is in the long-term best interest not only of us but also of our successors. But, a big but, we are forgetting to do this with mutual respect and consideration.

In our family, we encouraged our children to disagree with us because that meant they were thinking, looking at issues from different angles. They were growing intellectually. The one rule was that they would disagree with us with respect, as we would promise to do with them. We would model respect to each other.

There are some in Lake Oswego that are not able to show disagreement with respect. The ability to disagree with respect should be a model we show not only to all our community members but especially to our representatives in government. Our councilors, our mayor and our city staff are people giving hours of their time for us, time away from their families, time giving their best attention to matters that affect all of us as residents of Lake Oswego.

We can play to our higher selves. You heard some people who were running for office during this last election saying, 'We can do better.' Well it is time to see that behavior modeled. It is time to respect other points of view because there might actually be something said that is valid and would mitigate our thinking on an issue. But we need to behave in a respectful manner because it is the right thing to do. It is good for our community. It needs to happen now. We cannot move forward together without considering all of our members.

Open debate and disagreement, the willingness to engage in respectful disagreement means we are open to different views, someone else's reality. That can only help us make the best decisions for us as community.

A divisive community serves no one. Only by working together, hearing one another and respecting varying views, can we be a strong community. We should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Mutual respect should be a staple of our relationships and our communications.

Lynn Hennagin is a resident of Lake Oswego.