In the name of LOVE...
June 21, 2012
Explaining my beliefs and the way I see the world to my child is the biggest test of my truth and what I believe in. It is also the best way for me to get honest in a softer way. Really speak from the heart. It is so important, because she will know if it’s how I live. It’s a great little tap on the shoulder for me on how I treat those around me. It reminds me of how I believe one “should act” vs. what I actually do. I take it very seriously because I think that she should never stop asking those questions.
One day my baby turned to me and asked, “Mommy, why is it so hard sometimes to do the right thing?”
I pause. Remembering that these questions are baffling. They shape her mind and conclusions to so many of the world’s curveballs.
“Well, baby, it’s easy to do the wrong thing sometimes because we don’t know always what the right thing is, also sometimes people can do what they think will benefit them in the moment and are selfish. And when that happens and they are not being conscious of others they can actually have consequences, “ I say with my sweet motherly voice. Am I done? I think is the pressure off?
My baby thinks for a moment. I am soooooooo not off the hook yet. She starts, “ But, Mommy, what’s a consekins (consequence)?”
I smile. “A consequence is like a time-out or having to feel bad because you know in your heart that you hurt another person.”
“Oh, so like, if someone hits somebody they go in time-out. Or they don’t take turns and argue and have to say sorry.” she continues, “It’s hard to do the right thing Mommy, because sometimes people are mean for no reason.”
This observation hits me like a ton of bricks. How do I tell my child that people can be mean, without reason, without knowing why, without being able to offer a solution. And in addition, be able to tell her this and say that she needs to be NICE whether or not people are nice to her. I decide it’s better for her answer my questions rather than make her remember answer, because this one is tricky. I think she should make up her own mind.
“People can be mean. I don’t know why sometimes. But what do you think you should do?” I ask.
“Mommy, it’s always good to do the right thing. If someone gets mean with me, I try to walk away.”
Tears fill my eyes. I can’t believe this little one. I can’t even fathom that she already knows all this.
“That’s so amazing, baby.” I muster up enough to get it out through my tears and heart bursting with love.
Then I think of why I have feelings of defensiveness and find it hard to be nice to others. I remember…that big thing that we all have…..being scared, things we have been through, a sense of being put down, anger and a sense of “I deserve” well, whatever it is. And I realize that her sense of these things has not developed, she is able to see things without judgment, not always, but most of the time she is able to stand tall for what she thinks is right because she has not formed that sense of fear. Nor has she been though a great deal of pain to feel like she is able to be rude or insensitive to others in order to defend herself.
Things happen in our lives and within the world that make it hard for us to believe in the benevolence of the human race. So we become negative and unable to be unselfish at times. We feel like “what’s the point” if no one else feels that way why should I?
I find that this is the easy way out. Yes, you should have self-respect and be able to set comfortable boundaries so that you are not being taken advantage of, however this law does not apply to daily interaction and just being a human to our fellow human. The laws of being a NICE PERSON should step in at some point. Being courteous to your neighbor regardless of the impact that you think that it will have or if it will be received in the right way should take precedence.
Definition of Human according to Mariam Webster:
a : having human form or attributes b : susceptible to or representative of the sympathies and frailties of human nature.
What happened to being human to each other? I hope that I can raise my daughter in a light that she knows that she can do “what’s right” not simply for BEING right, but in the name of love and just because it is the right thing to do. And I hope and pray every day that I can learn to do the same. Not what is convenient for me, but what is the most important thing for me to be an example for my baby.
And then I realize…It’s not the easy thing to do. It’s harder sometimes to do the right thing. My daughter is completely right. In the end, you give and then you get to feel good about yourself because you have made a choice in the name of the love thy neighbor as thyself rule. How can I expect her or anyone else to do the same if I am not practicing this principle? I can guarantee that if this is a hard thing for you, that you are human. As we all are. Trying to do the right thing and sometimes not knowing what that right thing is can be the greatest battle. It begins and ends with setting aside our way for the common good of all parties. For the sake of hoping that it will one day be the easy thing for you to do because you will have gotten in the habit of doing the right thing and you have learned what that right thing is.
So for today I will wave to the man at the stop sign who is in more of a hurry than I am to go first. Today, I will say “yes, that’s ok.” And finally, today I will remember that I have no idea how to start sometimes, but the important thing is that I try to be as compassionate as possible to my fellow human. In the name of Love.