Yesterday I read a blog post by Swim Bike Mom-- I am not a triathlete, but what I love about her blog is that, yes, she posts about training and racing, but she also posts lots of real life, juicy stuff about struggles and being human. Her post was about the idea of taking the high road and it resonated with me in the moment.
Now, I sort of cringe at the phrase "take the high road", of course Swim Bike Mom didn't make that up, it's a common expression, but often you hear it invoked by someone who is most certainly not doing just that. Not being inside SBM's brain, I couldn't tell you how it exactly applies to her, but having followed her blog for a while, I think I have a hunch.
It can be very hard as a parent to teach your children to take the high road, or what I like to also think of as simply doing the right thing. I will call it that. Teaching your kids that when someone hurts you, you don't hurt them back (physically or emotionally). When someone else makes a bad a choice, you don't get a pass to also make a back choice. And why is this hard? Well, most of us don't exactly follow this idea even as adults. Sometimes it can be a "do as I say, not as I do" type of thing. But it doesn't, and shouldn't, keep us from continuing to work to be better human beings and raising better human beings.
You might suspect that there is a reason I am having all these tremendously deep thoughts (ha!), and, well, you would be right. But I'm not the kind of person to spill a bunch of accusations and drama on my blog, so a bit of vague blogging will have to do.
Related, last night one of daughters chastised my other daughter for taking what was, in her opinion, too big of a bowl of yogurt, more than her fair share. (Please tell me this type of thing doesn't only happen in my house?!) I reminded my finger-wagging daughter that her sister hasn't had any of the yogurt yet, while she has already had two bowls of it. "Oh," she said. "Maybe next time you can ask questions before getting upset," I offered. She apologized to her sister, as she is very, very good at apologizing, which is awesome because she does, well, have the annoying affliction of frequently upsetting people.
After the words came out of my mouth it struck me that that is a great reminder for being a decent human being and doing the right thing: whenever possible, ask questions before judging and making accusations. Even an ounce of attempting to understand the other person and where they are coming from can go a long way. Confronting a situation with fists raise only invites the other person to raise their fists, too.
I know this isn't a new idea, I haven't come up with the key to world peace, but in the midst of a shitty situation, I can't even imagine how much it would have helped to have others involved to offer a "why? what's going on?" instead of accusations and finger pointing.
Anyways, that is my offer today: next time you want to fly to anger or judgement, try, if possible, to ask questions instead. Once you get your answer, judge away. Haha. You know, sometimes you find out that someone really was just being an asshole, in that case, be rightfully pissed. But what if they weren't?
And what if someone offered that kindness and consideration before accusing you? Wouldn't that feel wonderful to be offered the chance to explain what might have been simply a misunderstanding before it erupted in to something so much bigger?
Try to be kind. Always.