Monday, June 22

Why?


My youngest daughter asked why she had to be the better person when someone else was deliberately rude. I gave a couple of my best mom-patent answers:

Because so and so doesn't know any better.
Because it's the right thing to do.
Because you need to be the better person--she knew she'd get that, hence why she used those specific words in the first place.

She rolled her eyes.

I chipped in with age-old we can't change anyone else, but we can change ourselves.

She rolled her eyes again and walked away, unconvinced. It wasn't fair, she moaned.

This morning I received a quote via email, wisdom shining through the years from celebrated American contralto Marian Anderson (1902-1993), from Insight of the Day:

"As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might."

Though I've long been inspired by Marian's life, her courage and determination, I have never heard that quote.

To me it made sense. I tried to translate for my youngest, who still felt slighted.

When a person is mean it says more about them than it does you--a sure sign they feel bad about themselves. When you return rudeness for rudeness, and allow yourself to descend to their level, Marion's words ring true. While you're expending energy to make someone feel as low as you allowed them to make you feel, your emotions become a tangled mess that keeps you flapping around on the ground, instead of soaring, unencumbered, to great heights. The peace that comes from being the better person is priceless.

Okay, I put it a bit more simply/kid-like to her than that.

She rolled her eyes again.

But it was a good lesson for me.

Often I commiserate over what I perceive as day-to-day injustices, minuscule as they are, and forget that the opportunity to be the better person doesn't just arrive in the course of a week, or even a day. It is afforded on a minute-by-minute, sometimes second-by-second basis.

Like when your child rolls their eyes at you for the umpteenth time and you resist the urge to do the same, having faith your example with one day take root.

6 comments:

Joy For Your Journey said...

That was very good. I loved what you wrote as it struck a chord with me. My problem right now is dealing with someone who is around me all the time and who isn't very nice. I know I need to be nice to her, but after awhile it seems easier to avoid her, however, I have found that when I harbor any kind of bad feelings towards her or anyone else, I am really not a very happy person. So . . . more than you wanted to hear from a complete stranger, but your words emphasized to me the need to do better. Thanks for that.

Sharon said...

Lori - I have to admit that I too need this reminder. Lately I have been so stressed and so busy that I've been a little snappy - to those that I love! I'm even tempted to argue with my 6-year old! This is a great reminder to be the adult...to be the better person!

Thanks for stopping by my place! I'm now following you as well!

HerMedia said...

A reminder for me as well. My oldest son has been eye rolling a lot lately .....

~Kay
The almost always organized mom

Mommynightowl said...

I love that quote.

Yeah Ive been trying to explain to my two year old the same thing. I told her not to do something back to another child, her response was "she is doing it mommy" pointing to the child who had to have only been 7 and might as well have been there by herself.

Right now Im using the, well im not her mommy, im your mommy and you need to listen to me because i said so. you need to be a nice person.

Im still planning on what im going to say when she gets a little older

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

What a beautifully written post. So true, so true. Thank you for the bit of wisdom and insight. We all need a good reminder from time to time.

Tirzah said...

That is an awesome thought! Thanks for sharing it!

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