Today the boy wonder (9 year old) answered one of my many suggestions with “…you’re right mamma” and it really reminded me that I can’t remember the last time he said that. It’s amazing really, that all those times we say to our child/partner/friend/family member, “….it’s cold, do you want to take a jacket?” or “I’m packing some water, would you like to take some too?” we don’t hear that resounding “you’re right, I will” in response.
Or is it? What is it about those little words that are so powerful?
Somehow the feeling that we are right is terribly important to us humans, even if we don’t think so, and even if we don’t like to admit it. I sometimes wonder if it’s tied in with how wrong we fear we might be.
So this week, it’s time for a different approach. Yes, I like to be right about things. Most of all because it is human nature to seek to know. We seek to know how things work so that we can predict outcomes. The same way that a baby loves the game peek-a-boo because they know what will happen, they feel a sense of power in being able to predict what the peek-a-booer will do next – and we grown-ups like to feel we have a sense of power over our own lives.
And herein lies the tricky bit – we do have ultimate power over our inner lives, which in turn has a massive effect on the way things play out in our world, and how we respond to them. However the more we realise how little control we have of those around us, especially those we love, the more empowered we become to accept and love anyway.
So back to the boy wonder. It did feel great to hear the words “you’re right” but it was even more great that he heard me and took in my suggestion without it being important whose suggestion it was. It was most impressive that he was able to decide for himself what was the best course of action. And ultimately, I want to encourage and support those I love to think independently.
Given the choice, I would rather trust that an unpredictable outcome will still be one I can handle with my humanity and within the bounds of my values and beliefs. I would always rather come from a place of trust than fear. And this is what goes beyond right and wrong to how we might experience our world, and our intimate relationships with our friends and family.