Today in my classroom my students and I were discussing favorite colors. This topic came up after my kids once again commented on how much black I wear. One particular student had just expressed to me his love for Star Wars and instantly said "Darth Vader's favorite color is black" to which I replied "maybe it's red." This didn't make him get defensive or feel insulted. Instead he noted that red was the color of Darth Vader's light saber and began to ponder it.
This might seem silly, after all it was a conversation with a 7 year old, but I find it very applicable. Think of the adults who dismiss each other over race and religion. How might they have turned out if their third grade teacher challenged them not to depend on their assumptions? Might they be kinder to others?
There is nothing wrong with having an opinion. Everyone is entitled to them. But having our assumptions challenged gives us a chance to critically evaluate them. Being challenged doesn't make you wrong, it gives you a new opportunity to explore a new idea. It also doesn't mean you have to change your mind. You may think critically and find more evidence for your argument to serve as your case the next time you encounter such a challenge and then you get to provide a growth opportunity for the one who challenged you.
In everything it is best to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and wise in your opinions. My hope is that by challenging small insignificant assumptions I can shape people with those strengths.