Opinion Matters

Kabao - Columbia Heights, Minnesota
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I listened to my cousins exchanging heated opinions. They were talking about my sister’s boyfriend—again.

“He doesn’t even deserve her!” My cousin, Kong exclaimed.

“No he doesn’t. He smokes and he doesn’t even work!” Mao agreed. I didn’t say a word. I couldn’t disagree. But inside, I knew it didn’t matter to me what kind of guy he was. Despite how wrong my cousins think my sister is to date him, I think there must be something right in their relationship for them to last as did especially when they face so much opposition from my family. As a sister, I am more concern about her happiness than about her boyfriend’s looks or his job. Should I say something? Do I dare be wrong in their eyes? All these thoughts made me insecure about my opinions.

I finally regained my own opinions and developed new ones when my family moved. Now, I believe in having strong opinions but also having the courage to accept other’s opinions. Away from my cousins’ influence, I was able to focus solely on myself and I committed myself to school. I found my opinions through academics, opinions on issues such as abortion, government policies or just on the purpose of living.

There were teachers who encouraged me to be an independent thinker. One staff, Mr. Calhoun, helped me realize the importance of having my own opinions. Mr. Calhoun is well known for his frankness, he’s not afraid to hurt someone’s feelings. But as offensive and rude as he may seem, there is something sincere about his bluntness that I admired. When I was in doubt, he was the person I sought for advice because he had that ability to push me to stay true to my opinions by voicing it. He always asked, “What do you want?” People’s thought didn’t matter much to him. He placed his opinions first thus being honest to himself but still giving others a chance to state their opinions.

I know that I should not fear speaking out against my cousins’ opinions. I can freely express myself. I believe that the greatest freedom is the freedom to think without restriction from others. The greatness in having strong convictions is not that no one dare contradict you but that you will be liberated from being imprisoned by other’s opinions, like I was.

To this day, my opinions still clash against a stronger force—my parents. But I remain persistent with my opinions. Lately, they have been pushing me to convince my sister to end her relationship with her boyfriend. In my opinion, she should be able to date whoever she wants. I understand we can’t see eye to eye because we have different experiences but I am still willing to listen to their opinions. I know that as I am becoming my own person I can’t let their opinions determine how I choose to view people and the world. I live by my own opinions. This I believe.