Tag Archives: tolerance

Do you want to be right OR do you want to be happy?

Last week, I was sure that my daughter, Kirstin, told me a lie.  What she told me seemed very unlikely and I chewed her out for telling me a story. It wasn’t until several days later that I found out what she told me was not a lie at all.

Having to apologize is a very humbling experience. But Kirstin’s attitude through the whole thing made it even more humbling. When I called her a liar, she didn’t argue with me. She didn’t defend what she did or make excuses. In fact, she apologized. When it was my turn to say I was sorry, she was gracious and immediately forgiving. I spent some time thinking about this and it occurred to me that Kirstin was more concerned about my feelings than she was about being right.

I have often heard Dr. Phil ask a guest, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Of course, everyone says they want to be happy, but they continue defending what they have been doing. “How is that working for you?” is the next question Dr. Phil asks. And of course they admit that it isn’t working.

This makes me wonder why most of us seem to keep doing what we have always done and getting the results we always get, even when it isn’t working. I think I’m going to take a lesson from Kirstin and not worry so much about being right. Instead, I choose to be happy.

I’m hooked on the television series The Good Doctor. Dr. Shaun Murphy is a surgeon who has autism. In nearly every episode his “out of the box” thinking solves a problem that no one else can. Now there is a new chief surgeon who sees Dr. Murphy’s weaknesses more than his strengths and moved him from surgery to work in pathology. He is an excellent pathologist, but he wants to be a surgeon. Reluctantly, he goes to his new position and tries to make the best of it, but he can’t let go of the need to be a surgeon.

The previews for this week’s episode show the surgeons calling for Dr. Murphy to help with a problem in the operating room. I’m excited to see if the chief surgeon will re-evaluate his position and recognize Dr. Murphy’s special gifts.  Will he admit that he was wrong?

We hear a lot of talk about diversity, tolerance and acceptance, but often we fall short when it comes to putting those beliefs into action. We have a lot to learn from those among us who see the world just a little differently.

Our Children: Our Legacy of Hope

meetamaker_hailey-fortTo say that our children are our future sounds trite and obvious. Nevertheless, they are the ones who will someday be making the decisions that will shape the course of future events. Kids today are often portrayed as spoiled, entitled and lazy–more interested in communicating on social media than interacting with the world around them.

I’m sure that is true of some young people today, as it has been true of every generation that has gone before them. Unfortunately, we are more often exposed to the negative than the positive.  With that in mind, I would like to make a case for the optimistic future I see ahead of us.

I believe children today are more tolerant of individual differences. When I was growing up, we were sheltered from anyone who was different. People with mental, emotional and even physical disabilities were hidden away. Now we embrace and celebrate those who have special challenges to overcome. They are our heroes–not something strange to be feared. Our kids have been raised in that atmosphere.  Not only are they tolerant, they are reaching out to help where they see a need.  When Hailey met a homeless man in her community she decided to build him a little home. With only minimal help from her family (mostly in the form of advice) she build a house with windows, insulation and solar panels. That would be quite an accomplishment for someone of any age, but Hailey is only nine years old. It would have been so easy for her to say, “When I grow up, I want to help the homeless.” But Hailey didn’t wait until she was grown up. She saw a need and went to work doing something about it.

An eleven-year-old named Lily watched her grandfather who has Parkinson’s disease struggle with drinking from a regular cup. She could have very kindly helped him hold the cup–which I’m sure she did. But Lily set to work inventing a cup with legs her grandfather could grasp, enabling him to hold the cup himself.

Unlike earlier generations who had massive sets of encyclopedias, kids today have grown up with technology that allows them to instantly find an answer to any question they might have. They have not only embraced such technology but expect it as part of their daily lives. What will they do when they have questions that cannot be answered yet? I believe they will search for the answers until they find them. They will go on to answer the questions that we have been unable to answer–What causes the common cold? Why can’t we feed everyone in the world?  How can we prevent the spread of disease?

As a Baby Boomer, I have grown up knowing that I was part of a generation that was so large the world had to sit up and take notice of us.  The Millennials are another huge generation. Their impact will be felt around the world. I have no doubt they will be equal to the task ahead.