Oh when things go missing…. what assumptions do we make?
And speaking of assumptions –
I’ve noticed in my line of work that if we take the time to find out what is really going on, we may be surprised at what someone was thinking. Often I’m relieved to find out it’s not as sinister as I had thought.
For instance, just this morning I was making a cup of tea for myself and my husband. When Rob makes tea, for himself or me, he leaves the tea bags on the counter. I’ve asked him a number of times to just put it in the trash, but he leaves it out. The can is just a few feet away, yet he seems to have a block about getting the bags IN the garbage. I’ve reminded him, asked him, and even fussed at him to remember to throw them away.
I’ve come to the conclusion he just wants me to do it for him and that’s why he does it. He’s spoiled. He’s chauvinistic. He’s……..I could go on.
So this morning I was making us both some tea and I realized the true reason he leaves out the tea bags. His tea is a special mail order tea, therefor difficult to get, and each tea bag should be used twice. It says that on the box. He wasn’t much of a tea drinker till he started drinking this kind a couple of years ago. He’s been “saving” the tea bags, all of them, in case they should be used again. AHA! Now I know he could stand to be more conscious of what he’s doing and only keep those special tea bags – but hey, that’s a whole lot less sinister than my assumptions.
In my book Family Types, I discuss 57 different personality types in children and how they each may be a challenge. Over and over as I was writing the book I realized we make assumptions about why people do things, and it’s often much more negative and mean-spirited than in reality.
For instance, the child with the Clown type is often seen as a trouble-maker. He or she may make trouble in the classroom and make fun and mock people, even a teacher. It’s easy to think that the child has little respect for authority and just wants to push people’s buttons. But there’s another explanation that’s easier to live with.
The archetype of the Clown or the Fool dates back to ancient lore. A King had a Fool in his castle for two reasons. One reason was to entertain, but the second reason was far more important. You see, no one was allowed to tell the King he made a poor decision because it would shame the King. If someone in the King’s advising cabinet was betraying him, it would make the King look weak. Yet the Fool could expose the hypocrite or the weak advisor by making fun of him and the King would be able to see the issue without losing face.
So fast-forward to our modern day child with the Fool type and you’ll see someone who can’t stand hypocrisy. If there is a “mean teacher” who insists on being respected, yet shows no respect to others, the Fool can’t stand it. He must expose it, and he will use humor as a tool.
What if your child sometimes has issues with when and where to say his jokes? What if your child makes matters worse when someone in charge is incompetent? It can make any parent crazy. Yet once we know what’s really going on, we can take some time to talk about the issue with our little clown and help him see that we know what’s really going on.
Because just like the King’s Fool, once the King knows, the Fool can move on to entertainment and fun. And once we can uncover the truth behind the action, we can move on and let go of resentment.