Monday, December 7, 2009

Somewhere in the Middle

That phrase, "the truth lies somewhere in the middle" came to me repeatedly this weekend, so I looked it up and frankly, I wasn't really happy with what I read. It seemed to apply mostly to politics and how extreme views in politics make room for moderation "somewhere in the middle". And yes, when you have an extreme position, it's difficult to find compromise, especially when such a compromise means your core principles are in jeopardy. I won't get into a political debate but rather switch gears and reflect on how "somewhere in the middle" applies to me.

I have 4 kids. When something happens, one will inevitably run to me with their version of what happened. Usually it's the youngest and she is pretty good at making herself out to be a victim of those mean oppressing older siblings. If I go to the next youngest, I will get a version a little closer to the truth. My oldest daughter usually tells me what happened straight up, accepting responsibility if she's in the wrong.

I know, when dealing with my youngest two, that the truth of what happened usually lies somewhere in the middle. IF I take the time to get both sides. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I react to a blood curdling cry of my youngest, POSITIVE her siblings are ripping her arms from their sockets. I react first and ask questions later. This is my fault because I truly believe she wouldn't respond that way unless it was dire. Well, I'm learning she knows this about me and plays to this character fault in me. She now releases a blood curdling scream if someone tells her no, looks cross-eyed at her, or heaven forbid, refuses to give her a sip of their pop. Yup...I'm learning, but I have to fight against all my instincts to react and that's not easy. I remember a story my parents told me of my sister and two cousins playing in my grandma's kitchen. My sister was around 4, the older cousin was 5, the younger 2. The younger cousin got her finger stuck in a cabinet and screamed bloody murder. My dad came running in, immediately went to my sister, wanting to know what happened. She was a little shell shocked and didn't say anything immediately when the 5 year old piped up with "Michelle, Michelle (my sister)..." trying to say she, Michelle, didn't do it, when my dad grabbed her and spanked her, thinking the cousin was saying Michelle did it. He didn't have the full story. He reacted on instinct. And to his day, he never touched one of us again. Ever. A horrible lesson to learn a very difficult way.

There is a line I recall from Return of the Jedi, after Yoda dies and Ben Kenobi appears to Luke, telling him about his father, confirming for Luke that he, Anakin, is not, in fact, dead. Ben says, "So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view." We all have our biases and will put our spin on any given situation to justify our behavior. That, I think, is human nature. Does anyone ever want to portray themselves in a bad light?

So, two things I am trying to remember: Truth will out. It will. Eventually. Like with the situation with my dad, once the waters calmed. And when you make decisions based on "a certain point of view" you had best be prepared to live by those decisions and consequences. I believe that to be harder than we think. And two...there are ALWAYS two sides to every story. Sometimes, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

No comments:

Post a Comment