After a dinner of potato-leek soup, salad and roasted vegetables, I curled up in the library, thinking about the conversation my daughter and I had on our drive home. Last week while she was in oral surgery I was reading The Art of Possibility. There is a chapter that presents the concept of giving everyone an “A”, even if they don’t seem to deserve it. Look for the good, the possible, the contribution that each life presents or can be if they saw themselves that way.
We can have such low expectations of people sometimes, and certainly of loved ones who have not treated us how we believe we should be treated. There were several stories of adults being disappointed with their fathers because they had never seemed to show them love or understanding. After they were presented with idea of giving their parents an “A”, they were surprised to recall memories of tenderness or to find an endearing letter from the supposedly heartless father. Since I read that, I’ve been looking at my people differently, as humans with possibility for beauty, kindness, and love. Will I be still be hurt? Sure, but I can move forward with an open heart and look for the best.
Don’t we need to release people from our low expectations, our presumptions and assumptions? And just see them with fresh eyes, no limits and full of possibility and wonder.
So Ella and I talked about family matters, about how much she enjoyed her recent weekend with her dad’s side of the family, and she expressed the qualities about their family that she wishes everyone could experience: acceptance, kindness, respect and love. I agreed. “It’s so rare,” she said. (All the more reason to be thankful for her good fortune to belong to such a family.)
I’ve felt myself returning to a jaded view of human nature after a few negative experiences this weekend. You know what? I need to move on.Who knows what will happen tomorrow? I can learn and choose to look at everyone in my life as possessing the ability to communicate clearly and meaningfully.
If you have wonderful relationships, then Thanksgiving is a perfect time to celebrate them. If there is tension and disappointment and lack of communication in your circle, try giving everyone an “A” and celebrate all the good waiting to be discovered.