I've always prided myself on how I "keep it real" and "tell things like they are." In my Midwest community--where niceties make it hard to know what anyone's saying half the time--my direct nature is one of the qualities I've always liked best about myself. And now as a business owner and performer, I've noticed that I wear the self-applied "straight shooter" badge like some sort of puffed-up sheriff in charge of gunning down all the pleasantries in town.
(I know...I'm a real hoot).
Anyway, this week, I got into it with my kids. They wouldn't listen to me about some pretty basic concepts and rules. They tried to talk to me, but I just cut them off. And when they asked me why, my "keeping it real" response was, "Because I know more than you."
I cringe just typing that. Apparently, somewhere along the way, "straight-shooter" and "pompous jackass" became intertwined.
There's a big difference between being the type of person who speaks to-the-point, and then being the type of person that treats somebody as sub-human because they can't articulate as quickly or reference the same information, or they just haven't lived as long as we have. I was caught off-guard by how I humiliated my kids, dismissing their views as though they didn't matter. I'm going to be keeping close tabs on this tendency of mine. Because the last thing I want to do is miss out on all I can learn from the people around me by being a know-it-all.
After I apologized for discarding my kids' ideas, I took them mini-golfing for the first time. Turns out, they were right about a few things.
Namely, I do take things too seriously, and I need to have more fun.
Reader, don't forget the value of the people around you this week. Big, small, old, young, brown, white: they have value. I'll see you next Monday. -Em