When my daughter was about 10 and wanted to do something that we felt she was too young to do (probably go to the mall with friends, unsupervised), the typical parent/child conversation transpired. Her argument, of course, was that “Everyone else is allowed to do it!!” and from us “We are not ‘everyone else’s parents!” Then came the line every parent has used at some point: “Meghan, if everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you follow?” Different bridge, maybe, but you know you’ve used it. Our darling daughter’s response…… “But I know how to swim!!!”
Well, okay, then! Smart chick, that one. We had to walk out of the room to cover our laughter – but she definitely stayed home.
For the little ones in our lives, we can control and guide them appropriately. We can put up with the kicking and screaming and whining because we are their protectors. What about as adults? What about for ourselves? We often don’t see the risks that others may. When pointed out, do we ignore them and move forward anyway? After all, it’s my life and I know how to swim, damn it! Or, if we are the one that sees the risk in what someone is about to do, do we stay quiet thinking they’ll figure it out – or at least they should.
I have this mantra that I repeat ad nauseum: “If I don’t know, I can’t do anything about it”. If I am about to walk through a door and you know that there’s a treacherous drop – and you say nothing – whose responsibility will it be when I crash? The first answer is, of course, you. But the truth is really both. I should have done my research and you should have confirmed that with what you know. This applies to so many things in our lives!
Here’s the point: We do not walk through this life alone, with no support system. We can choose when and whether to tap into that support but it should never be ignored.
We have so much to learn from each other and so many ways in which we can guide each other. We simply need to care enough to put the ego aside and open our hearts and minds to each other. I would rather you not assume that I already know. I would rather not crash if it can be avoided. I promise not to throw a tantrum. Well, I might whine a little, but I’ll listen.
From my heart to yours, Diane