The answer: incredible communication.
“How do boys feel about girls’ insecurities?” “Why do guys not show sensitivity?” “Why don’t you tell me what the problem is instead of ignoring me?” “What does it mean to be masculine?” These were some of the questions that students posed and discussed openly with one another thanks to the help of the QUESTion Project Student Ambassadors.
The Ambassadors recently organized and implemented this successful community lab with the intention to bring high school men and women together to discuss the tumults of adolescent relationships. The event began with a discussion about the importance of questioning all aspects of life and ended with a call to remember an openness to respect others’ differences in thinking and working to build relationships with others.
To introduce the event, the Ambassadors stressed the importance of maintaining an open mind to our own questions and ideas, but also – and especially – to those of others as well. With an air of respect dividing a group of women on one side of the classroom from men on the other, students were asked to write some of their biggest questions about relationships. Questions were then sent to students of the opposite gender for discussion. The Ambassadors held the many excited and impulsive desires to share at bay in order to facilitate a safe environment where single ideas could surface for reflection. Because of this, students felt comfortable to share their vulnerabilities, their ideas, their concerns, and their suggestions about relationships and communication between partners. The feedback and ensuing discussions were remarkable.
Relationships stand as one of the most important aspects of high school – and, really, all life. Whether differences arise from a partner, a friend, teacher, or collective community, students remembered that others have opinions that differ from their own. With this in mind, they were able to discuss why it is important to remember to respect difference. Diversity adds flavor and strength to any relationship so long as individuals feel that they can express their differences safely.
Questioning opens a door to the unknown and in this community lab, students allowed that door to open into the perspective of another. They fearlessly ventured into the unknown to better understand how differences strengthen something similar: a mutual interest in another.