Argument is a Daycare

Working in a daycare has taught me alot about young children. Primarily that they like to argue about a lot of things and typically are not happy when they dont get their way. When they start crawling and being able to move around they start to learn where they can and cannot go and what they can and cannot do. When they are slow its easy to be able to catch them before they go under the table when you have to change their diaper and all you get as a rebuddle is them crying and wiggling to get free. However when they get a little older they start to walk and then run so catching them before they go under the table proves to be alot more difficult. A professor named Mary Louise Pratt spoke in a ….. conference and talked about contact zones.se defines contact zones as “Social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with eachother, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power”(Pratt pg 34). I like to think of the daycare i work at as a contact zone. In the daycare contact zone i am part of the dominant group with the most power. The children are part of the minority group with the least power. So when the kids at the day care rebuddle back to me about how they dont want their diaper changed it is pretty much guaranteed that i will win that argument and any other argument that comes up. Or so i thought.                                  When i first started working at the daycare i thought, “these children think  I am a responsible adult who knows best for them and so they will listen to me” So whenever i would try to get them to come out from under the table i would argue with them using a metaphore of argument is war. Lets pause so i can help you understand what i am talking about. I am going to show you a man named Daniel H. Cohen, he made a Ted talk called For Arguments Sake. Here are some of his points on the metaphor argument is war. “The war metaphor has deforming effects on how we argue. First it magnifies differences making it us V.S them. The only forseeable outcomes are glorious victory and ignominious defeat and worst of all it prevents things like negotiation, deliberation, compromise, amd collaboration.”(Cohen video). argument of war is how we see arguing. We automatically want to be be right or “win” when we start arguing with someone. I have never started an argument with someone because i wanted to be proven wrong. As you can imagine my mindset of argument as war was not very effective. To the children i was just another adult trying to ruin their fun by making them stop what they are doing to change their diaper. I have since developed another way of looking at argument.                      I call it argument is a daycare. Thinking of argument as a daycare highlights compromise.  Instead of telling the child you have to come out from underneath that table because i said so, i say hey why dont you come on out so i can change your diaper and we can then do something you would like to do. Or come on out and ill let you bring that car along while i change your diaper. Trying to negotiate with them and seeing what they want in exchange for coming out from under the table peacefully has worked a lot better.  Lunch time is another great example of argument being a negotiation. A child parent packed them a juice box, a sandwich, pretzles and a cookie. When youre a child you dont care much about nutrition so all you want is the cookie. As the person watching them i have to tell them no you need to eat all your other stuff before you get a cookie. I get a grumble and three mouse bites of the sandwich in return followed by a can i have my cookie now? I tell them you can have your cookie when half your sandwich is gone anf youve eaten five pretzles. I see this as a win win, the child doesnt see a long hard path to the cookie anymore and i get the satisfaction of them eating at least half their lunch before they eat their dessert. By trying to negotiate with them we end up both getting something we want in return. When you look at argument as war you usually are not open to anything new. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson wrote a book called Metaphors We Live By in their book they talk about the metaphor argument is war. “It is important to see that we dont just talk about arguments in terms of war. We can actually win or lose arguments. We see the person we are arguing with as an opponent. We attack his positions and we defend our own.” (Lakoff and Johnson). lakoff and johnson are saying when we think of argument as war we only think about how to get our side to win. So rather than listen to the other person to understand what they are saying we listen to defend our own argument. When you think of argument as a negotiation or exchange you give up being the only one getting something out of it. You also try to figure out a way so both you and the person you are arguing with both get what you want.


I’ll just swing it.

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I’ll just swing it.

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All the photos above were taken with a focal length of 18.

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focal length: 18