Saturday, 11 April 2015

Day Five

Rule 5
“Most problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstanding. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language, as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.”

Something amazing is happening since yelling is no longer an option: I have less to yell about. Which is further confirmation that I was yelling about absolutely nothing in the first place. Sh*t happens. So what if the little one decided to wash a favorite book? And hat? And emptied half the fabric softener in the process? The world is not about to end, nobody's hurt, it's no big deal. Removing anger from the equation lets you step back and see that. Yes, I still get exasperated in the chaos during the day, I'm not a saint, but there's always a way around anger. 

I don't know about where you live, but in my country, making prank calls is our national pastime. Maybe it's because even people without clean running water have a cell phone, and service providers have super cheap call plans. Usually the pranksters are bored males looking for "fraaandship". I'm not sure if this ever works for anyone, but some were downright persistent. Normally, ones instinct drives one to yell and swear at the irritating buggers, but that usually excites them even more. A friend recently told me that, in the case of one such persistent caller, she gave the phone to her husband as a last resort. Now, most husbands would, understandably, tell the person off. But not him. He answered, he started a l-o-n-g conversation with the prankster, they even recited some poetry, had a good laugh and, at the end of all this, he said, "Hey, listen man, don't call my wife again, she gets upset". To which the caller immediately agreed. And voila. No more calls from him. 

My method is decidedly less magnanimous. I hang up and block their numbers. If I get an SMS I reply back with an SMS laughing at them / mocking them and then block their numbers. Hey, to each their own, right? 

Now, I'm a believer that words are mightier than the sword. But if I understand Mr. Rumi correctly, even words fail us, we must never take words at "face value". Hmm. I guess he's right, since people rarely say what they mean, and it's infuriating! I wish everyone on the planet simply said what they meant, at face value, and then we would not have misunderstandings, fights, hurt, and so on. Telling the truth is not to be confused with being rude or mean... there is always a nice way to see even the most difficult truth, even if you don't want to spend an hour and a half talking to your wife's phone stalker. 

Has an aggressive tone ever been disarming? No, it just puts fear in someone's heart, but the same thing can be said in a different way and yield the same result. Something for me to bear in mind when I'm having a battle of wills with the little one.

*Cue Old Western music, me and the Little One facing off, close-ups of our squinting eyes*
Me: Drink your milk.
LO: No.
Me: This casa ain't big enough for the both of us. (Spits out chewing tobacco.)
(LO reaches for the sippy cup, throws it to the ground.)

Now, you might have seen a meme that's been making the rounds on social media and making lots of people very emotional, I'm including a link HERE. It says, "The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice", and it's by a lady called Peggy O'Mara. I had no idea who Peggy O'Mara was till I just googled her, and she was the editor of Mothering magazine for many years. Power to her. But I have a problem with that quote. You see, my mother is awesome. She is one of the most laid-back, chilled out parents a child could hope for.

"Mama, I don't feel like going to school today."
"Mama, can I have homemade chicken nuggets and fries for the 5th day in a row this week?"
"Sure, I'll just make them!"

She is selfless, caring, nurturing, loving, and, as far as I remember while growing up, she rarely scolded or lost her cool. All my friends love meeting her, maybe in some cases even more than they love meeting me, no joke. A few things would set her off when we were kids, but I knew how to avoid them by quietly watching my older brother walk on the land mines first. Sucker!

And yet, Peggy O'Mara, my inner voice turned out to be a self-deprecating, cynical a$$hole. So how do you explain that, Peggy? Huh? Huh? 

Maybe words only tell part of the story, and the heart tells the rest. In any case, use words lovingly as much as possible, and truthfully without exception. And since silence is golden, I wish you all a good and peaceful night!