My Issues with Freedom of Speech

Issues With Freedom Of Speech Have Affected My Life

Is the ability to listen and have an open conversation or debate lost on this world?


Let's have a conversation. Imagine a person from another race, religion, sexuality or political affiliation approached you and asked your views on your race, your religion, your sexuality or your political affiliation. Could you sit down and have an open, understanding conversation? Would you be able to see their side? Would you be able to respect and appreciate their differences? Now imagine what that would accomplish. Imagine everyone being able to view many controversial topics from multiple points of views. How would you change? On a bigger scale, how would our society change?

The United States' first amendment is Freedom of Speech. If that is one of our most basic rights, why is it taken from us very often? Usually, controversial conversations turn into who can scream the loudest. But what do we learn from screaming at each other? Absolutely nothing. For most Christian families, it is strange to have two denominations in one household. My father is Southern Baptist and my mother a Seventh Day Adventist. I chose to be a Seventh Day Adventist.

Most people do not know what this is but it is a denomination of the Christian faith that follows both the New and Old Testament. I grew up being able to hear both sides of a discussion carried out in the most respectful form and choose a way that was best for me. I also was put into a school where I was able to learn about other religions, not just Christianity, and visit temples and meeting houses. Where I developed a respect for other people's beliefs. This helped me to expand my own faith and allowed me to understand why I believe the way I do.

I remember coming in as a freshman to UNCC. I was terrified. I was the only one from my family that has been to a secular college. My beliefs were always different from the people around me, and I am very hot-headed. I always believed that every discussion you have about religion or anything else controversial was a debate that had to be won. This was the wrong view to have. Not only did I starve myself from listening and getting to know other people, whose views are just as important as mine, I also alienated people that were different than I.

This was the wrong thing to do. I was not raised like this. I was raised to care about others views, feelings, and backgrounds. When I started learning and opening my heart to other perspectives and people, something amazing happened. I got to learn. And understand, and my debate skills multiplied. It gave me a greater love for the people around me, and a better understanding of my own beliefs.

If we are respectful and we actually learn to listen I believe great things can happen. Maybe new friendships, compromises and many solutions to a problem at hand. I challenge you to ask at least one person this week their view on something, anything. And just listen, do not interject any of your own ideas, just simply try to see things from their side.

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27 Things To Do With Your Friends When You're Bored

A little bit of fun for any season.

I am sure many could relate: you are texting or sitting around with your friends and no one knows what they want to do, everyone is bored, and everyone is flat out of ideas that are actually realistic and achievable. Boredom makes an appearance at it's finest moments... always.

Here are 27 things you can do with your friend in just about any season (some are exclusive to a particular season) when boredom takes over!

1. Find a local coffee shop to try out.

2. Or better yet, find a local restaurant that you’ve all been wanting to try.

3. Go shopping at each others' favorite stores.

4. Tie balloons with positive messages inside of them to random places in your town to uplift a few souls.

5. Cook a homemade meal for a homeless person and deliver it.

6. Get crafty and create a time capsule that you and your friends can open after (x) amount of years.

7. Make your own sushi.

8. Plant flowers in little pots for your homes.

9. Road trip to random local cities and do some exploring.

10. Have a photo shoot.

11. Buy or create a blank page’s journal filled art, writing, sketches, and pictures of your friends that can be used as a memory book.

12. Visit a pumpkin patch.

13. Go stargazing in the middle of the night with a blanket and a few midnight snacks.

14. Go to a haunted house.

15. Go to a movie with the group.

16. Have a giant sleepover with board games, snacks, movies, and crazy pajamas.

17. Have a game night with the peeps.

18. Have a gingerbread making contest.

19. Have a bonfire when it gets cool outside.

20. Make homemade ice cream.

21. Search on maps for the nearest natural spring or river and go swimming or canoeing.

22. Take a camera, your group of friends, and stroll around town taking pictures of your adventure.

23. Use the pictures you take on your adventures and create a photo wall in your home.

24. Have a "Madea" movie night.

25. Throw a themed party.

26. Write letters of encouragement to children (or adults) in hospitals.

27. Look up random keywords on YouTube for possibly some of the best videos ever.

Cover Image Credit: aurimas_m / Flickr

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What It's Like Being An Introverted Leader

Different people lead differently.


When you think of the qualities a leader or someone in a leadership position should have, being out-going is often mentioned. However, I don't think that always has to be the case. I've been a part of many different leadership opportunities and programs, yet I'm still the same socially awkward hermit I've always been. Being out-going and extroverted doesn't qualify someone to be a good leader, just like being shy and introverted makes you a bad one, it's about your skills.

When I went to a leadership program at a summer camp, I often heard that I didn't talk very much or I was too quiet and shy for a summer camp entertaining kids, I should have been more talkative. I'd also get a few counselors coming up to be that when they were in the same program I was in, they were also the same things I was and not to worry about it. Even now, I'm still quite and relatively shy person, but that doesn't discredit my ability to be a good leader, or anyone else's.

In my high school ASB (Associated Student Body) class, we took a fun personality test to find out what kind of leaders we were; someone who likes to be in charge, be in the spotlight, more organized, or stay in the background. I got someone who likes to be in the spotlight, which was a surprise to me too, but thinking about it, it makes sense. I'm not overly out-going, but given the right motivation, I don't mind going up to people and striking up a conversation.

I can also say that at some point I have possessed all four of these personalities or traits over the course of my different leadership roles. The reason I'm even bringing this personality test up is that it definitely shows that there are different types of leaders out there, and not all of them have to be extraverted. I tried to find the one I took but couldn't find the exact one, but if you're interested there are a ton of different ones out there.

Over time, I've learned and worked on many valuable skills, like conflict resolution, time management, actually listening to what others have to say, and more. I keep myself up to date with my surroundings and what's going on in the world, and I still meet and hang out with people, when I have time. People grow and learn on their own pace, we should let them without overly critiquing them.

In the end, whether someone is out-going or not shouldn't determine the ability they have to be a good leader, sure in some cases it's better to more extraverted, but it's not a make or break trait. So long as they have their mind in the right place and know how to handle different tasks and situations, it doesn't matter.

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