I’m weak, okay? There–I said it. I’d like to think I can handle whatever gets thrown my way, but no. So in an effort to change and grow, I’ve made a list. These random observations have been bothering me lately so I thought I’d bother you with them.
In no particular order, I offer you three things I like to hear:
Numero Uno: Your Kids Are So Tall!
I know—I’ve done it too. Well-intentioned words that sound like compliments, as if the child got that high on the measuring stick based on talent.
Besides the fact they already know it, there’s nothing inherently wrong with telling kids they’re tall. The problem comes when our tall children hear these accolades over and over and take it as praise that they did something noble or impressive.
The other problem comes when I hear people tell my kids they’re tall and I sense pride welling. Why in tarnation would I be proud of them for growing? They don’t shoot up or peter out on purpose.
Unless your third-grade princess is a chain-smoker, she has no control over her height. And unless you schedule a leg-lengthening surgery for your man-child, he has no control over his height either.
Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton stands at five-three. For most men, that’s not a goal. Scott obviously received plenty of praise for his triple jumps and backflips, but I’m fairly confident no one ever complimented his height.
I grew up with a friend who tapped out at four-foot-eleven and three-quarter inches. As if she had any control over such results, it would sound ludicrous to insult her for being short.
On the flip side, why would I compliment someone whose height numbers are over six feet? Unless you’re a model or play center in the WNBA, most über tall women aren’t fond of being über tall.
Sure, it can be helpful to get chocolate out of high cupboards, but until eighth grade I despised being tall. All the boys seemed stuck in pre-puberty while I shot up and stood out.
Once I topped off at 5’9” I liked my height, but I do not consider it an accomplishment. I ate pounds of food, drank gallons of water, and grew in my sleep. Gold star for me?
That’s not a talent, people. It’s called growing.
The next time I accidentally compliment a tall child for being tall, you can bet I’ll be mentally kicking my brain for reverting to the norm. I desire to focus on attributes kids are actually working on… like kindness, intentionality and respect. Join me?
B: Carrie’s a Writer
If those three words were the only way you knew me, you wouldn’t know me very well.
You can form an opinion about me based on what you’ve heard or seen other writers say or do, but at the end of your list you might be wrong and I might still be a writer.
- I don’t write at 4 a.m.
- I don’t drink gallons of coffee.
- I don’t own thousands of books.
- My dream date would not take place in a library.
- I don’t write in moleskin notebooks with quill pens.
- You will never find a cat lounging on my laptop because I’m not fond of them. At all.
But I’m still a writer.
I also don’t enjoy reading all the classics just because smarties voted them classic, I don’t have a quaint writing shed inspired by Chip and Joanna, and if I had to choose between a clean house or a chef, I’d choose to keep writing.
Sheesh–such a Negative Nancy nonfiction list.
On the positive, optimistic side…
- I’m much more creative in the morning than at night.
- My diffuser releases rad scents and health benefits. Using this as we speak:
- I have a passionate relationship with my thesaurus.
- Burning my favorite candles make me feel cozy. Got this beauty for my bday:
- I spend five hours a week working at a coffee shop drinking Medicine Bombs.
- …and I have a major crush on Uni•Ball AIR Pens. Pure, flowy, inky bliss.
But that’s not who I am.
I like being known as a writer, but my closest friends don’t refer to me that way. We’re friends because of things like 2 a.m. heart-to-hearts, blunt honesty, body image issues, unabashed encouragement, insightful questions, resolved misunderstandings, Marianne’s 10/20, Jesus talks, revealed insecurities, calls for no reason, similar battles and life stages.
They get me—and it has nothing to do with how many words per minute I can type.
How well do you know your friends and family? Do you separate who they are from what they do?
#Three: Did You Hear About Mildrid?
If you want me to change the subject at the most awkward time, start dishing.
Speaking up isn’t as easy as it sounds, and unfortunately takes a whole heap of courage to open my mouth. Why? Because even though I say I hate gossip, I’m also relatively keen on listening to it.
Holy Holly—that’s hard to type.
Whether they admit it or not, I reckon most people enjoy a juicy listen, too. Not sure what it is about our bizarro human nature, but psychologists agree: spreading gossip makes us feel superior.
If that pill’s hard to choke down, see if you can agree with this one: we love being in the know. Whether or not we mean to monopolize the conversation, when we have information to reveal we naturally spark curiosity in our listeners.
When I wrote Loose Lipps Sink Ships, I honed in on these three questions I try to ask myself before blabbing:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Is it necessary?
If not, let it go unsaid.
I can choose to filter my side, but when a friend offers intriguing gossip, I find myself sucked in faster than a dead fly in a vacuum hose. So if you’re going to start a sentence with, “Did you hear about Myrtle?”, be ready for my response: “Did you know you can ride a turtle?”
“I think you mean a tortoise, but you shouldn’t.”
“Good point. Might be scratchy.”
“No—you’re too heavy.”
And on we’d go, veering away from sweet Myrtle and ending up in the desert, munching spinach and arugula together.
“A real Christian is the one who can give his pet parrot to the town gossip.” ~Billy Graham
Recappin’ Like a Pastor…
- I like it when you gossip. But please, for the love of my weakness and our mutual friends, halt. Let’s be the ones who teach this next generation of talkers how to discuss things that actually matter.
- I also like it when you call me a writer, but let’s move on and get down to the nitty gritty. Like avocados and plank jacks, for example.
- I also also like it when you tell my kids they’re tall, but I don’t need their heads to get big. Nobody likes tall, big-headed children who become tall, big-headed adults. I’m scratching tall comments from my list of compliments; let me know if you’re striving for the same!
What healthy changes are you making these days? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!