My Way

rlMtuR23SC6pZJLH6olOvQMy mother and I have an ongoing dispute over the proper placement of silverware in the dishwasher.  I always place my forks, spoons and knives in the dishwasher with the handles up.  My mother places them in with the handles down, because she says the silverware gets cleaner that way.  And perhaps they do, I tell her.  But what happens after the dishwasher has run its cycle, and then I have to remove the silverware by placing my grubby little fingers on the parts of the spoons and forks that are supposed to go in people’s mouths?  And isn’t it dangerous to handle the knives by the blades?

When I say this, my mother always nods and says, “That’s probably true.”  But as soon as she thinks I’m not looking, she goes right on putting the silverware in the dishwasher with the handles down.

The correct way to load a dishwasher is a relatively small matter in the grand scheme of things, but I think our ongoing disagreement is a good illustration of a much bigger problem.  Because most of us tend to believe that our way of doing things is the best way, and our way of thinking is the only way.  And then we cause a whole lot of trouble by trying to convince everyone else that we’re right.

If you’ve ever had a “discussion” with someone who holds different views from you, especially on such sensitive topics as politics or religion, you know what I’m talking about.  Those are two topics where people have never had much tolerance for disagreement.  But even different beliefs in how we raise our children, how we run our households, how we celebrate holidays….heck, just about anything these days….can cause us to lose our tempers and lash out at those we think of as “other.”

I guess it’s just hard for us to accept that it’s not our place to tell everyone else what to think or how to act.  It seems to be human nature to like our own way best, and to harbor the belief that the world would be such a better place if everyone else just “got with the program” and came around to our way of thinking.  But it doesn’t work like that.  Because the people who are different from us like their way best, too.  And they also think that the world would be so much better if we would just wise up and agree with them.

The best thing we can do, I think, is to live our lives as best we can according to our own convictions, and to be very open about what we believe and why.  And if someone else wants to share their beliefs with us, we can listen to what they have to say and really think about why we do or do not agree with them.  Sometimes minds will be changed, but often they won’t.  And that’s okay, because other people are allowed to be different.  They really are.

So I will keep right on loading the silverware in my dishwasher with the handles up, and my mother will keep right on putting the handles down.  And that’s fine, because either way, we’ll still end up with clean silverware.

85 thoughts on “My Way

  1. First off….my way is always right….but you’re correct, people are not really open to listening to opposing views. Sometimes I try to blog to show people that there are often a plethora of re as unable ways of thinking of any topic.

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  2. If loading the dishwasher is an ongoing source of dispute (and subsequent conflict and frustration), one of you should just simply accept that there are differences of theories and back away from the issue. After all, in the overall scheme of things, if that is high on anybody’s agenda, I would suggest that they re-visit “life”.
    I would also suggest (to you Ann) that you explain that while you do not agree with her theory, you have far more important things going on in your life than how to place cutlery in a dishwasher, and she can therefore do whatever makes her happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Colin! It’s not really a heated matter at all, it’s just amusing to me that we both have our own way of doing it, and we don’t budge. So, at my house she loads in my way (if I’m watching) and at her house, she loads it her way. But I do think that our “opposing views” do illustrate how attached we get to doing things “our way.”

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  3. I know this isn’t really about dishwashers, but i’m with your mother here – except for sharp knives. Both sections of our basket have a grid over them so it looks as though that is what the manufacturer expects. I rest my case! This also highlights the difference in vocabulary between the US and the UK. What you call silverware, we call cutlery. I find it amusing to be asked if I would like “plastic silverware”!

    So having dealt with the trivia – yes, I thoroughly agree with your central proposition.

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  4. Here’s my deal. I like to place the silverware in the dishwasher by their “kinds”. Knives with knives, small spoons with small spoons, large spoons with large spoons, etc. That way, I can grab the cleaned small spoons all at once to place them where they go without all the sorting. My wife mixes everything in the dishwasher. So, I have to sort piece by piece. However, she rarely, if not ever, puts away the cleaned silverware. So there’s the rub. In the end, I know it won’t be mentioned in our memorial services. So glad others have dishwasher issues like I do. God’s grip – Alan

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    • Oh, I like that idea, Alan! At the moment, the only thing I separate are the knives (I keep the grid for those) mostly so I don’t accidentally grab one and cut myself. But separating them all so they can easily be put away is a great idea! Thanks for that….. (As for your situation, I think a sign of true love is sorting the silverware each time without complaint!)

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    • Funny you should mention that, Jill, because in her new apartment, Mom has already said she’s not going to use the dishwasher at all. The community has a dining room where they serve daily meals, so she says she won’t dirty that many dishes…..problem solved!!!

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    • Yes, handles up strikes me as much safer, especially for someone like me who tends to be a little (or a lot) klutzy. And that’s what I try to do when I hear other opinions as well…resist the urge to “correct” people, and just remember that we do all have the right to think for ourselves!

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  5. Knives go handles up, the rest go the other way. But do what makes sense to you.

    You said: The best thing we can do, I think, is to live our lives as best we can according to our own convictions, and to be very open about what we believe and why. So agree with this. It’s the open part that makes people whole. These people who try to hide who they are behind polite smiles drive me bonkers. Own up to your own reality.

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    • Yes, I think there is a huge difference between being open with our convictions and trying to bully everyone else into agreeing with us. We should always be honest about what we believe and who we are, and simply allow others to do the same thing, I think. Thanks for that comment!

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  6. I don’t mind how to load the dishes but please don’t hang the clothes in the wrong direction! Thank you for reminding me to listen to the other person. Even if we end up disagreeing, I will have taken the time to hear what they have to say.

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    • You’re welcome! Sometimes listening is the nicest thing we can for for someone else. And even when we disagree with them, at least hearing them out lets us understand why they think the way they do. It can also make us clearer in our own beliefs, as we discover just exactly why we don’t agree with them. But ultimately, it helps us see that the “other” is very often a person just like us, struggling to find their way in this world and sometimes getting things just a little bit wrong.

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  7. I could add a lot to the dishwasher debate. But I’d rather emphasize my agreement with your statement that religion and politics when leading to disputes and enmity between friends and relatives should be avoided. In my more adventurous years, I used to be a ham radio operator and communicated with people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We all abided by the iron-clad rule to exclude religion and politics from our conversations. Thank you, Ann, for another thought-provoking post!

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    • Thanks, Peter! And I agree, those are two topics that can divide us very quickly, especially when we forget to say, “I disagree” rather than, “You’re wrong.” And what a wonderful experience to get to communicate with such a variety of people! Sometimes, blogging can give us that experience too, as long as we remember to be respectful. And I’m so glad that I’ve never had a problem with people “attacking” each other in my comment section. Thanks for always being a supportive reader who leaves interesting comments!

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  8. I’d suggest that for the sake of peace everyone should revert to washing their cutlery in the sink the old fashioned way!

    This is the real reason I repeat tolerance and embracing diversity in so many posts Ann. We all have different ways of thinking and doing things and I enjoy nothing more than a healthy discussion [if both are truly listening] on different perspectives. But do know that we cannot change another’s viewpoint .. we all got there in our own way and struggle to budge 🙂

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    • Those are very wise words, Kate! We can learn so much from people who think and do things differently, if we are just willing to really listen to each other. And we rarely do change anyone else’s mind. The most we can do is “plant a seed” that gets them to think a little bit more about something. Personally, I’ve changed my mind about certain issues more than once in my life, but it’s always a choice I came to on my own, even if I did take other people’s opinions into consideration.

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  9. Ann this post is nothing short of brilliant. All of it. You state the dishwaster utensil dilemma so clearly, and yes I have experienced the same and tend to agree with you, but frankly, at the end of the day, I also agree, as long as they get cleaned. But damn, I might just cut my fingers in the process their way. Haha

    I have come to a place in my life where I do my best to observe the differences and accept them. The only areas I really have trouble accepting differences are when it comes to racism, (I absolutely cannot tolerate this personally having grown up in South Africa during apartheid), the other is cruelty to animals. There are many many cultural differences that crop up and I work at it every day to accept that we all have different cultural and personal ways in which we treat animals. Still this is hard for me to accept.

    Ann I always love how you write and what you write about and look so forward to reading you. Such a top notch story teller!

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, thank you for those kind words, Peta! Not sure that I deserve them…. But yes, as much as we try to accept other people’s opinions (and we absolutely should), there are limits. When someone’s views mean that people or animals are getting hurt, then it is time to step up and risk offending someone in order to stop the abuse. But even then, it’s better to try to actually change someone’s mind rather than just attack them. I have a friend who works in the Rescue and Investigations department of a large animal shelter, and he said that when they see an animal is being neglected, they try very hard to educate the person who is doing the neglect. Because if they simply rescue the animal, the person just goes out and gets another one and treats the new animal the same way. Their goal is to teach the person why it is wrong to treat an animals so badly, because often it is done out of ignorance. But in the case of willful abuse, like say, a dog-fighting ring, well then they rescue the dogs and charge the owners with everything they can…..because we need to make sure those people never have the chance to abuse a dog again! Ditto with someone who is hurting people in the name of racism.

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      • Totally agree re animals. Yes absolutely spot on! Shouting at people doesn’t help, and I have learnt to try to educate and also role modeling kindness to animals. Many people essentially just don’t get that animals are sentient beings!

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        • No some really don’t understand that animals have feelings and often it is a cultural thing. Thank you for trying to educate people in that area! And also for speaking up against racism…again, people need to realize that ALL people deserve respect and equality. We will never achieve any kind of real peace until racism is not practiced at all.

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  10. Agree with you Ann. People seem more closed-minded than ever these days. As for the silverware: I load it like your mom. If you read about dishwashers, they encourage loading plates toward the center because that’s where the most water hits. I want my silverware to get hit with hot water as much as possible.

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    • Yes, and that’s exactly why she loads it the way she does! Just goes to show that even people who do things differently than we do often have a good reason for doing so. And yes, we do seem to be more close-minded than ever before, which is not a good thing. Obviously, we can’t tolerate abuse of any living thing, but whenever possible, we do need to remember that our way is rarely the only way, or even the best way!

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  11. I love the way you lay this discussion out and apply it to live in general. Although it may seem insignificant, your silverware example is a great illustration of tolerance. You and your mom are able to consider each other’s viewpoints, even if you don’t agree. Some people absolutely cannot tolerate things not being done their way. It’s difficult to be around anyone who always refuses see the other side of the coin.

    My wife and I have entered the same silverware discussion over the years and we’ve changed back and forth between handles up or down a few times. I don’t know how it happened, but right now we happen to be doing it my way. I won’t make a declaration as to which way that is, but life is good right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Des! I’m glad you saw that the silverware example is just an illustration of how much we tend to cling to our own ways of doing things. It can be hard to recognize the value of other people’s beliefs and actions, but I think it is absolutely necessary that we do. Because you’re right, it really is hard to be around people who are so sure that their way is the only way!
      On a lighter note, it really is kind of fun to hear that I’m not the only one who has strong opinions on how it should be done. Sort of reminds me of the time I blogged about whether or not people should put tinsel on their Christmas tree. That was one of my first posts, and it was also the first one that generated a lot of lively discussion!

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  12. What a great piece Ann! Imagine living in a world where, on a day to day basis we spent way less time judging & debating our differences and more time working together and celebrating all that we are as human beings.

    Having said that, I do agree with your dishwasher loading technique & I am have been know to flip a roll of toilet paper so that the paper comes over the top vs under the bottom!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, when I listen to other people’s opinions, I always learn something and open my mind up a little bit…..even if I do disagree with them. Because that provides me with insights as to why people behave the way they do, and that helps me to relate to them a little bit better. As for the dishwasher….ditto!!!!

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  13. Then there is the BIGGEST BATTLE of all, which way to mount the toilet roll. I always hung the roll with the loose leaf pointing out, my wife did the opposite – then one day when we were battling about something else, we hear a flup, flup, flub coming from the bathroom.

    Our cat, whose name oddly enough was Cat, was pawing at the toilet roll and had unfurled the entire roll by the time we stopped him.

    From then on, I mounted it loose leaf pointing in.

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    • You’re right, Greg, the proper way to hang a roll of toilet paper is much bigger! (Did you see Mona and Lynn’s comment above?) But I guess it takes a cat (and their vastly superior intellect) to teach us which is the right way. Forget the “above or below” argument, the trick is to tuck the loose leaf in where no one, including our pets, can easily unfurl it. I’ll remember that…. Thanks!

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  14. Hehe! Sounds like my husband and me when it comes to toilet paper, the dishwasher and folding t-shirts! We have come to an understanding: whoever replaces the toilet paper gets to determine the direction, whoever loads the dishwasher gets to do it their way, and the one folding the laundry has the final say! With that in mind I’m getting my way nearly all the time!!

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    • That sounds like a good system to me! The person doing the work should be able to also make the decisions, in my opinion. Although it seems to me that maybe giving up the right to make the decisions means you get to do a lot less work? I’ll have to think about whether that’s worth it or not! Ha!

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  15. I load the dishwasher with the utensil handles up as you do; I too, fear grabbing something sharp. It is funny, but we all cling to our habits. Sometimes, they are habits that are instilled in us when we were very young. Simply stated, we do a thing a certain way because that is how we have always done it, and our parents did it the same way before us. It is fun to muse about, because of course, there might be a better way of doing something besides our customs. Listening to others is a great art and one I value more and more as I grow older. We do not have to change people or their ideas. It is just a wonderful thing if we can speak and be heard, and another can speak to us, and we simply listen…no judgement, just listening to their point of view.

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    • I agree, Linda! As often as possible, we need to resist our urge to “correct” others, unless they are actively harming another person or animal. We can learn so much when we listen without judgement, and that helps us to open our hearts to one another, which enables us to grow in understanding and tolerance. I have changed my mind on issues in my life, but never when someone was arguing with me. It’s always happened when someone has just been open and honest with me about their own belief and then simply listened while I stated my own. And I also have many, many people in my life who I love and respect who also happen to hold very different beliefs than I do!

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  16. I like your thinking, Ann. Resolving these differences used to be a problem. Now, I simply say, “Yes, your way is probably better and maybe right, but I like my way and will continue doing it my way.” Can’t argue with Frank Sinatra, can we?😁

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  17. I love this, Ann! Sometimes I’m discouraged by the lack of acceptance of different beliefs. We sure have had our share of that in the news. But I also feel so good when I see people being open to other opinions. By the way, I’m like your mother, I put the knives in handle first, but we don’t put the sharp ones in the dishwasher!

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    • I know, it does seem as if being threatened by any way but our own is on the rise these days, but that also makes it so much more inspiring when we do see someone being open-minded. And I like the way you solve the “sharp knife problem” with the dishwasher…that’s rather smart!

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  18. The best thing we can do, I think, is to live our lives as best we can according to our own convictions, and to be very open about what we believe and why.  And if someone else wants to share their beliefs with us, we can listen to what they have to say and really think about why we do or do not agree with them… It can be the matter of perceptions but we have to learn the correct way and influence people to follow the same way because if we do not do so, the world be facing troubles alot. As far as the silverware concern i think you are right here with the handle up because it can injure ones hand with the handle down and you can wash them before using again to be hygienic. But we must always find the correct way or path and let the others follow that so we can spread the peace more by clearing their wrong perceptions.

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    • That is so true! And exactly why trying to force our opinions on others doesn’t work. Sometimes people will pretend to agree with us, just to get us to back off a bit, but that isn’t the same thing at all.

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  19. Personally, I do handles down, except for knives. But then I can open the basket from the side and grab them by the handles for stowing.

    But ultimately, there is more than one way to do many things, and to insist that only one way is valid suggests closemindedness. That’s not a great path towards growth.

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    • I think I would like to have a dishwasher like yours, Dave! Because the only reason I want to put the handles up is because mine doesn’t allow me to handle the silverware by the handles when I removed it after it’s been cleaned. And yes, for the bigger picture, we all do need to see that our way is not always the only way. We can grow and learn so much from each other if we just open our eyes a bit!

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  20. You made some great points–it’s difficult in today’s world with everything going on not to voice our opinions. However–I find it impossible to not have my say about a certain topic so, therefore, I have my say!!

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    • Ha! We all have our opinions that we feel we MUST express, and that’s okay. I think the trick is just to express them in such a way that doesn’t put others off. I think learning how to politely disagree is becoming a lost art, and that’s very sad. Thanks for your comment!!

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  21. You touched upon such an important topic with such a small example Ann. As long as the other person doesn’t invade into your space and change the way you have placed the cutlery, and you don’t do that to the other person, it is ok, I guess. We can all ignore the little comments here and there and go on. The problem becomes actually problematic only when that invasion happens.

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    • Yes, that’s a good point…someone who mentions that they do things differently is okay. But someone who actually starts trying to redo your things to match their way is not okay! It’s the same thing as trying to force our beliefs on someone else. All that does is cause resentment. Thanks for that comment, Deepa!

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  22. I have a solution for you. Don’t load the dishwasher! I rarely use it any more, maybe once a week if that, unless we have people over and it’s a big load. I simply prefer to wash my dishes by hand, crazy hey. Anyway, I get your point Ann, we all do things differently and think everything and that’s perfectly ok. I guess it all comes down to respecting each other’s opinions (and then doing what feels good and right for us). Have a good weekend.

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    • You know, that’s my mom’s plan for her new apartment, because she won’t be cooking very much there and she says it will take so long for her to generate enough dirty dishes to run the dishwasher that she just doesn’t plan to use it at all. And face it, all of us grew up washing dishes by hand…not such a bad thing at all. But on the serious side, yes, we can absolutely respect the fact that people are going to have different opinions and remember that we all get to be out own, unique selves!

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  23. And, clean silverware is a good thing! This is a great post. Fortunately, we have friends to whom we can say anything opinionated, and they can as well. I think everyone should be able to be like this. For example, they are religious and we are not. Of course, I have that idealistic view that “we can all just get along!” Politics and religion are touchy subjects for sure.

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    • Thanks, Mimi! And I share that idealistic view as well. We don’t have to think alike in order to be friends, and we don’t have to be friends in order to treat someone with respect and be civil to them. It really isn’t that hard to be nice, or even polite!

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  24. Yay! That’s one discussion I’ll probably never have since I’m used to wash the dishes by hand! 😄 Though my guess would be that there also might be some potential for discussions about which side of the sink to use for wash and drying! 😉 But leaving this aside I think you’re spot on – we all need to keep our minds open for different perspectives.😊

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    • Yes, I think it’s only natural for all of us to assume that “our way is best.” And so hard to remember that is exactly what everyone else thinks as well (about their way, not ours.) But if we’re really going to get a long, sometimes we just have to be a bit more open, and a lot more tolerant. Thanks, Sarah!

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