Do Better


By Heidi Hess

The conversation went something like this: 

“Mom, you can’t say that.” Savannah said. 

“Yeah, she’s right. You can’t say that.” Ryan repeated, driving home their point.

“Umm…really? Oh wow.” I replied. I paused. They were looking at me. “Well,” I scratched my head. “When the story first came out back in the late 80’s-early 90’s this was how it was reported. This is how people, at the time spoke of it. Clearly, I need to rethink some things.”

I was on autopilot when I was conveying the details of the event. What was the event? It doesn’t matter. The point is, when we know better, we do better. How many times have I said that? To my kids, my spouse, and my friends. I have corrected my speech over the years but what about how I look at the past? 

I was thinking about another conversation I had with my sister a few days prior. Our brains are like untouched fields of snow in a snow globe. Over time we create worn paths through the snow. Some work, while other paths need to be course corrected. And there I was, retelling the event the way it was told back then but now, my kids turned me around and asked me to look at the worn path I had just gone down. Oh dear. 

One of the nice things about snow globes (and brains) is that if you don’t like where the snow lands or how the path looks, just pick it up, give it a good hard shake, and start over. So there I was, realizing the error of my ways. My kids picked up my snow globe and helped me give it a good hard shake. They were looking at me. “Wait. Let me retell the story so it’s right.” I said. And that’s exactly what I did. I created a new path. Now when I revisit this event it will be told according to the new path. 

Can old dogs learn new tricks? Yes. We owe it to our kids to adjust our thinking especially if it’s going to encourage a gentle world. They will inherit the future. Don’t we want the best for them? Even if, especially if, it makes us uncomfortable? My kids showed me how to be better that day, so now I do better. We all can.