The leaves are falling, weekends are filling up with soccer, football, and pumpkins, and Fall Session Debate Clubs have begun!
Several years ago, our friends at the University of Washington Speech and Debate Club visited our clubs to give a demonstration to the kids of how they might argue the resolution School Should Be In Session Year Round. The kids were happy to see that college level debating followed much the same format as their own: one side presents the affirmative, the other side presents the negative, back and forth until all debaters have had a chance to speak.
A few were surprised to find out afterwards that the UW debaters did not necessarily believe the side of the argument which they presented. How can this be? "How can you argue for something you don't really believe?" they asked. Great question. The UW students told us that oftentimes it is easier to debate the opposite side of your own true beliefs. Why? Because doing so helps you to focus on using your evidence to build some very strong reasoning without emotion attached. And, because you already have a good understanding of the other side, you can pretty easily anticipate the opposition's arguments and plan how to respond to them.
You can try this it at home the next time your natural debater insists that they need the latest and greatest iDevice, or that they really must stay up late to watch something on tv... reverse roles and have them play the part of YOU to anticipate your objections.
Pretty soon "Mom, I need to watch this show tonight because all my friends are watching it," becomes "Mom, I know that my bedtime is before this show comes on, but I have gotten up and been ready to leave for school at least a half an hour early every day so far this year. Which means that if you let me stay up tonight to watch this program, I will still have plenty of time to get ready in the morning, even if I do end up sleeping in a little longer tomorrow."
You might have to work a little harder to stand your ground!