You grow up learning, ‘listen to your elder’s advice because they’re always right’ and then life makes a distinction – ‘listen to your elder’s advice not because they’re always right but because they have more experiences of being wrong.’
Agree, its but natural that our reactions are always based on our own experiences, our relationship with the ‘elder’, their expectations of us, our understanding of the situation and our current state of mind. But within the myriad internal and external influences, its amazing how we’re quick to pass judgement and stress that our situation is unique. Of course the elder does the same – equally emphasizing the situational context during ‘their time’ and how it was never easy.
Sometime ago I sat arguing with my mother about the right way to bring up children – of course, in our own ways, both being strong headed, we each had some equally strong arguments to contend with. At one juncture when the discussion was becoming quite animated (read heated), she screamed, ‘I should know as I brought you up!’
I retaliated, ‘precisely my point about why you’re wrong!’
Sitting high above somewhere, listening in on the conversation, God decided it was time to break it up – suddenly my daughter cried out in her sleep – both of us in unison sprang to our feet to rush to her. Half an hour later our joint effort paid off – we successfully put her back to sleep. By then we’d both calmed down and exhausted felt united in our hearts and mind.
Slowly ma, revisiting the conversation, opened up to share about what she’d done and why. She knew why I thought it was wrong and with sound reasoning was able to highlight a completely different perspective.
It made me wonder – why are we always in a hurry to pass judgement or stress on what is right? Do we ever stop to acknowledge that what is right for me might not be right for someone else? We always insist on what worked for us but never highlight what went wrong. We don’t like to share what we could have done differently or what we shouldn’t have said. How often do we accept responsibility for our own actions? Why is it so difficult?
Is it because we fear the truth? The truth, that would bring our vulnerability out in the open. So its safer to believe and therefore make the world believe we were right. Skipping certain minor details or paraphrasing an experience gives us the power to feel ‘differently’ about the situation. It makes us more acceptable. We feel we’re more in control!
Its perhaps what makes us more humane, or does it?