Most every morning Nick wakes up in a great mood. He sings songs and talks non-stop while we get him cleaned up to start the day. Arden loves to tease Nick when they are talking or singing. He will change words around or will completely ad-lib lines. His sense of humor is one of the amazing things that I love about Arden.
The other morning, Nick looked at Arden straight in the face. (this doesn’t happen very often) Arden and I both looked at him. He said, “Dad, you’re weird!” Arden and I both burst into laughter. You know the kind. Belly laughing with tears rolling down your face. It was so funny.
Since then I have wondered why it is that the same words spoken at different times, elicit an alternate response. We could have been offended by someone else saying the very same thing. Is it that I know the intent of Nick’s heart? I know that there was no malice intended. Do I have different expectations for people? Could I choose to have the same generosity of heart for others? Can I look past the word choice to find the intent of the person speaking? Will I cut them some slack in our relationships?
Recently I have noticed that I can become easily offended by a glance from someone driving a car next to me. Someone that I don’t know and will never meet. I assign malicious intent to their behavior and I respond accordingly. Other similar situations come to mind, and I feel chagrined at how often this happens.
These are hard questions requiring reflection and self evaluation. Observing my response to Nick compared to my responses to others has helped me determine to have more compassion and empathy for others, especially when my initial response is irritation.
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