I have come to the conclusion that the internet is black & white. Life, on the other hand, is Technicolor. Big issues are rarely simple. Big questions do not usually come with simple yes or no answers. That is what makes today’s political divide so unproductive and dangerous. Increasingly, people discuss (that is a kind word for it) these thorny issues on social media and any opposing opinions are deemed wrong, stupid or evil.
On a personal level, we can fall into the trap of believing in a black & white world. Divorcing or divorced spouses often come to believe that the other is always wrong or possesses evil motives. Each one retreats to his or her corner and waits for the bell to signal the start of the next round. This is especially harmful when children are also in the ring.
If parenting teaches us anything, it should be that simple right and wrong answers are rarely enough. Raising children requires an open mind and flexibility. It requires empathy. In order for children to learn empathy, they need to watch it in action. And this means watching their parents, who no longer live together, treat each other with respect. That means dealing with a whole spectrum of possibilities rather than simply right or wrong.
Now, I can hear my photographer friends who work in black & white yelling at me for making their beautiful medium into something negative (pun intended). So, in all fairness, let me point out what those photographers already know: black & white photography is beautiful because of all the shades and textures that exist between absolute black and absolute white. Yes, black & white is a spectrum too.
We need to recognize the multitude of possibilities and explanations in these difficult questions we confront on a daily basis. Mediation, Parenting Coordination and Collaborative Law promote problem solving by considering many possibilities and by looking for solutions in between winning and losing. Why not consider debate, dispute resolution and parenting within the framework of a system that not only recognizes, but embraces the many possibilities between black & white?