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Talking It Over: Agreeing to disagree vital to being a productive

There has been a question that I have struggled with for some time now. If a person chooses to be part of an entity such as a country, community, job, church, organization or relationship, is it vital to believe in everything it stands for or professes? As a member or citizen, do we have to believe in every law, rule, mission statement or goal outlined by the governing board or leaders?

For example, to be a citizen of the United States, should we avidly believe, support and profess all that it stands for and does? Obviously, through our freedom of speech, this is not necessarily the case. Personally, I know that there are several laws our government has passed that I don't agree with. However, I continue to be a U.S. citizen.

The same can be said for any group or organization one belongs to. Even if you are one of those making the laws, there is bound to be some degree of differing opinions. No

rule, law or course of direction is going to be agreeable to all.

I imagine what it comes down to in regard to supporting or remaining a part of that entity, is to what degree you might disagree. If the rule or action is something you absolutely can't live with or support, then it is probably important to remove yourself from the situation. However, if being part of the entity is more important than the issue, it is maybe a good time to stay, try to work things out or just agree to disagree.

When you think about the success or failure of countries, churches, businesses or even relationships, how disagreements are handled is a key part of its success or failure. When one faction is overbearing or even dictatorial, things simply do not work well. It is always good to have differing opinions and to learn how to accept and mix those opinions to satisfy everyone involved.

Therefore, when I run into a situation where my opinion is totally different to that of the majority -- or even if I am part of that majority -- I try to find ways to listen, understand and accept all sides of the issue. In other words, there are times when it is necessary to agree to disagree in order to continue to be part of the things I enjoy and appreciate.