I don’t remember what we were talking about but I remember clearly saying to my husband, “just be the better person.” I noticed Lavin watching his parents go over their day together. I thought about what I really just said. I said that I thought we knew more than the other person. It indicated privilege, superiority, and dismissal of another perspective. This certainly is not the message I wanted our son to hear, it isn’t the message I even meant to convey.
My language did not match my values. Both my husband and I love that we have careers that connect us to people who need support. I work with children and families, my husband volunteers as a firefighter. We are building a family that is kind, compassionate, empathetic, and invested in our community. We have many privileges others don’t have. We have supportive extended families, enough in so many areas (food, health, clothing…), and so much more. It is easy to get in a mindset that dismisses other’s perspectives and struggles when you live a comfortable life.
I decided to say, “be a kind person,” instead of, “be the better person.”
To me being a kind person means you are listening to understand, not to interject. You are compassionate and caring, not all knowing or defensive. We need more kindness not more people reaching to be better than the rest.
When we talk in front of our kids and behind closed doors pay attention to the privilege in our language. How can we shift it to be clearer with our message? Our language says so much about us, and says so much to our kids. With our language, we are building how they think about this world, about us, and most importantly about themselves. Be a kind person.