Whose side are you on, Kate’s or Meghan’s? Oh, you didn’t know you had to choose? Well, you do, at least according to British tabloids, superfans, and even evangelical writers. “The two duchesses have been assigned to opposite sides of the culture war,” pitting conservative Kate as the archetype of domestic femininity against progressive Meghan and her “woke” attitude toward traditional Royal Family values. If your teen is paying close attention to the Kate and Meghan fight, it may be a good opportunity to discuss some deeper underlying messages of the controversy.
The world isn’t so black and white
Whether the feud is fake or real is mostly irrelevant, but it does reveal just how easy it is to move the masses into polar opposite camps. This strategy feeds on the normal pattern of brain function most dominant in adolescents and immature adults. The developing brain wants to divide everything into neat categories in order to make sense of the world, convincing us that all of life is neatly divided into tall vs. short, left vs. right, good vs. bad. Within this way of thinking, everything you’re comfortable with, already exposed to, or that you understand is called “good” or “true,” while everything that is foreign, different, or new is deemed “dangerous.” That’s why it’s so easy to love Kate and hate Meghan, or vice versa. Psychologists and theologians call this “dualism,” and the dualistic mind always compares, competes, conflicts, conspires, condemns, cancels, and crucifies the other with impunity. Is it any wonder our political, religious, and international discourse is so toxic?
We Christians need to help ourselves and our children take the higher—and more difficult—road of moving beyond such simplistic and harmful ways of thinking and taking on the mind of Christ, who was always welcoming to the outsider, moving toward the foreigner, and including the outcast. We do this by putting ourselves in others’ shoes, seeing their perspectives, feeling their feelings, understanding their hearts. We do it by challenging our assumptions, never being so dogmatically committed to something that we are unable to let go of it, even when proved false. And most importantly, we do it by loving those we don’t want to love, those with whom we disagree, those whom we see as “other.”
Start a conversation
If you’d like to talk with your teen about the royal debate but don’t know quite where to start, here are a few good questions.
- Do you think the distinctions between right and wrong, good and bad, or just and unjust are clear? Why?
- What does it take to come to a conclusion on something that isn’t so black and white?
- Do you find it hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their perspective on an issue? Why or why not?
- How do you think the role that the media plays in cultural events like this influences us?