I’ve been teaching my daughter lessons that would have helped me as a young person:
- Treat others how you want to be treated
- Use people’s names when you speak to them
- Ask people questions so that can talk about things that make them happy
As a young man I had a disregard for the opinions of others and viewed manners as a sign of personal weakness. While I enjoyed success despite these weaknesses, it could have done a lot less ‘damage’ if I’d been more considerate.
My daughter is four and has been yelling in my face, daily. I’ve been thinking about how I might help her smooth the rough edges.
The first tactic was to teach the three lessons above.
The second tactic was to acknowledge that we’ve been taking pride in certain elements of her aggressive speech – finding humor in the fear she stokes in other kids and the ease of travelling with a four-foot tall extrovert.
The last tactic was to identify, then improve, my own verbal shortcomings. This was tough for me and I had to ask Monica for tips. She didn’t come up with anything directly so I turned to the ancient texts (links to Buddhist teaching on right speech). Here I found something to work on…
- …is spoken at the right time
- …is spoken in truth
- …is spoken affectionately
- …is spoken beneficially
- …is spoken with a mind of good-will
If my children were mind readers then would they be justified in yelling at me?
The question made me smile and I’m working on my “mind of good-will”.