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The Power of Being Open-Minded

Posted by Megan Plassmeyer on April 27, 2015 at 9:53 AM

It was my last fight. After taking a few hits, my opponent was slowly beginning to wobble. I went in for the final blow. As I could hear my opponent fall to the ground, the echo of the noise rang through my ears like a bell. Did I just knock this guy out? 

When I first started taekwondo six months ago, I instantly realized that I was an unlikely candidate for success. I’m 5’10, 130 pounds, and sometimes struggle just to carry a 24 pack of water bottles up to my third story apartment. I was clearly the underdog.

Into the first month, I was unmotivated. I had already made assumptions that this class “didn’t work for me.”  I misread the instructor’s passion for aggression, and didn’t get why everyone in the class was so thrilled to show up 2x a week. I wasn’t open-minded.

And that’s the problem with health policy.

When dealing with health legislation, particularly comprehensive sex education, there is such a lack of tolerance. I find it sad that I am in an industry that must tolerate such a lack of understanding and open-mindedness, when being open minded within my own travels has lead me to the greatest triumphs and adventures. It has lead me to be successful in a class that I no longer feel embarrassed to show up to.

We must engage in life to understand it and we must enter situations with the patience to maintain tolerance if we ever wish to understand and improve the world around us. I have found that a lot of people who disagree with sex ed bills H.3447 and S.574 have not gone in open minded, they have not put in the effort to read the legislation, and they have automatically decided that “this doesn’t work for me.”

If I had decided that taekwondo “hadn’t worked for me” upon first glance, I would not be where I am now. I would not have been invited to join a fighting team, and I wouldn’t have spent last Wednesday watching my opponents hit the mat over and over again.

Whether you find you agree with comprehensive sex education or not, I hope that you allow yourself to read the legislation with an open mind.  In the words of Frank Zappa, “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.” It is never too late to give up your prejudices. It’s never too late to understand why young people deserve medically accurate information about abstinence, contraception, and disease prevention.


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