When I confronted my daughter after she hurt another child with a mean comment, she cried and immediately wanted to apologize. That was a good thing, but I wanted her to know an apology can't always make things better.
I told her the parable of Will, a 9-year-old whose father abandoned his mom two years earlier. Will was angry and he often lashed out at others with hurtful words. He once told his mom, "I see why Dad left you!"
Unable to cope with his cruel outbursts, she sent him to his grandparents for the summer. His grandfather's strategy to help Will learn self-control was to make him go into the garage and pound a two-inch-long nail into a four-by-four board every time he said a mean thing.
For a small boy, this was a major task and he couldn't return until the nail was all the way in. After about ten trips to the garage, Will began to be more cautious about his words. Eventually, he even apologized for all the bad things he'd said.
That's when his grandmother stepped in. She told him to bring in the board filled with nails and instructed him to pull them all out. This was even harder than pounding them in, but after a huge struggle, he did it.
His grandmother hugged him and said, "I appreciate your apology and of course I forgive you because I love you, but I want you to know an apology is like pulling out one of these nails. Look at the board. The holes are still there. The board will never be the same. Your dad put a hole in you, Will, but please don't put holes in other people. You're better than that."
This story really hit home for me. At work last week some sub contractors whom I had just met, nicknamed me, "Mr. Sunshine." I wake up at 4 am and hit the ground running in a good mood. Being positive is built-in.
But I have a major flaw. I respond poorly to negativity. But responding negatively to negativity, compounds it; and it closes the door for discussion.
Our Sociology Department did a study on Growth Motivation Index, that was looking for who has growth motivation, who doesn't and why. I would say in every case, anyone motivated to grow in any area of their life, has a mentor somewhere in there, they are drawing from.
All input data is raw and unuseable. It cannot be responded to or acted upon until it is interpreted through a chosen narrative or composition lens to fit in the bigger picture we are building. The default lens is a very little window and it is all about me; what's in it for me or look at what they did to me.
We by default, think the car in front of us, slowed down just to irritate us. Without a mentor, we will never escape the default lens and growth motivation is impossible.
The only script we will ever get to write in this life is our own. I cannot write your script and you cannot write mine. But I get to choose every day how I will influence the writing of your script and I get to choose who I will let influence the writing of mine.
If I am in the default mode, it won't be long before negativity has over shadowed the positive script I am attempting to write. I must keep my chosen mentor in view at all times to stay motivated to grow.
We can use our words to initate or set a fuse, to respond-to light a fuse, set or we can use our words to initate-prevent a fuse from being set or respond- defuse a fuse, set. We get to choose, but only if we practice growth motivation. By default, the first two will win every time.
I am only blogging- writing about me. Maybe you can relate to it.
And with closing, I leave you with this...
I halve a spelling checker,
It came with my pea see.
It plainly marks four my revue
Mistakes I dew knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait aweigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the era rite
It,s rarely ever wrong.
I've scent this massage threw it,
And I'm shore your pleased too no
Its letter prefect in every weigh;
My checker tolled me sew.
Have a great day!