Sometimes I come up with just the right thing to say when Goodnight needs to hear a story rather than a lecture.
Some time ago, she was upset with . . . use your imagination here, she is a teenager. I listened to her side of the story and did not want my response to sound preachy or opinionated. So I told her the story of the Blind Men and the Elephant. You can read the poem version of the story by clicking the link.
I did not recite the poem, but as I spoke, I maintained the spirit of the parable, despite my embellishment of substituting one body part for another in the story. I swapped the tail for the elephant’s butt because I knew it would make her laugh and therefore remember the story a little better. When I got to the end of the tale, I told her that sometimes her perspective will not give her the entire picture and that she needed to learn there is more to the elephant that its butt. Sometimes the only way we can understand a situation fully is by collaboration.
She laughed and laughed, but in the end, told me it would help her remember that her perspective is not always accurate enough.
Not long after I told GN the story of the Blind Men and the Elephant, I found a little charm to put on a necklace to remind her to keep an open mind while listening to others. She had been wearing the necklace since then . . . or at least that’s what I thought.
I didn’t know she had misplaced the charm, but it was just last week that she came running down the stairs holding her necklace in her hand.
GN: Gram! I found my elephant!
Gram: And do you remember why I gave you that charm?
GN: Yup! Because I don’t always know the whole situation when I think I do.
I figure if she wears the charm on a necklace and her friends ask about it, she gets to tell the story and can teach her peers about perspective and collaboration, too.