Guess the Dictator

The 18-Year-Old Niece: Fifty percent of my friends say I should break up with him before I start college, and 50% say to keep him.

Me: You gonna marry him?

Her: NO!

Me: I think you already have your mind made up.

Now that seems to me like a Socratic exchange–asking questions for her to find the answers. The 14-year old disagreed.

The 14-year old: OF COURSE she said she wasn’t going to marry him. What else would she say?

Me: I don’t care about the answer. I just wanted to pose the question. I wasn’t trying to be directive, but Socratic.

The 14-year old: You THINK your being Socratic, but you’re more like a dictator. (quickly adding) Sometimes.

Hunh. So I think that I am being open and am instead pointing a finger decidedly in one direction. That isn’t what I am intending–at least not always. I need to think about how I am playing Socrates.

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