My daughter is an old soul…possessing wisdom far beyond her tender years. She has been this way since she was a child (which, as I must constantly remind myself, she isn’t anymore!) Once, when the twins were about six years old, the three of us were cuddled up in my bed, watching a movie. Suddenly, my daughter looked at me and asked, “Mom, if you could relive your life, from what age would you go back and start from?” It was such a profound question coming from such a small person that it left me a bit speechless…partly because an honest answer to a question like that requires a great deal of reflection.
Just yesterday, she shared a particularly relevant affirmation with me. She observed, “Other people’s feelings, opinions, and perceptions of me are their responsibility, not mine.” This is a powerful statement, especially considering its potential to be interpreted and employed in a negative manner. It is one thing to be possessed of a healthy self-confidence and to be secure enough that the approval of others is not necessary to your sense of self-worth. But what about when that concept crosses a line, becoming a lack of respect and consideration for others around you? I see this on a continual basis here, and in fact, it is this mentality that has likely brought most people here in the first place. Two of the most common fallacies in reasoning I hear are, “Well, this is a prison. It isn’t a resort,” and, “You ain’t my momma… I’m grown. I do what I want.”
Abysmal grammar aside, these are nothing more than lame excuses for selfish, inexcusable behavior. It is important to remember that our actions are a reflection of us no matter what environment we find ourselves in. To be sure, when we are able to maintain exemplary comportment in more challenging situations, it speaks even more highly of us and shows that we can rise above and become an asset to our community, wherever that community might be. Also, just because one reaches a certain chronological age, this does not magically make that person an adult. I could give you some examples of the stupid behavior I see here on a daily basis, but there are simply too many instances to choose from. I often wonder whether the same holds true in the world. My daughter, the wise soul, tells me, “The same people you have to deal with are also out here, mom. But the difference is that out here you have more space to distance yourself from them.” How did she get so smart?