From Judgment to Curiosity – Part One: The Shift

Thanks,Deborah Bennett Berecz, for your comment about wanting more on “how to stay curious and not be distracted with agendas and power struggle.”

We were standing on the front porch: My grandson, Sam, was showing his mom and me how to use a new technological wonder he’d gotten with some birthday money—part of it from me and his Grandma Monza.

Just as the gate slammed behind me when I left to go home, I heard Sam call out “Grandma, Grandma!” His eight-year old voice filled my heart with love. He burst through the gate, ran up to me and said, “I didn’t need your charity to buy it.”

I have no idea what I said to him. Feeling utterly stabbed in the heart, I got in my car and drove home. With tears in my eyes I thought words you might imagine: privileged, spoiled, ungrateful. My hurt mingled with anger and judgment for several hours, I think, until a thought came to me. My mother taught us that appreciation was at the heart of much of what was good in life, connection with each other, the ability to feel joy. If I didn’t deal with my hurt carefully, I might create a power struggle with Sam around appreciation. I thought, “This is too important. I can’t mess up how I handle it.”

In that same instant, I became curious and wondered,“Where did Sam learn the word ‘charity’?” It wasn’t the question I would have imagined, but once it came to me, it seemed to be the perfect starting place for a conversation with him.

My shift in focus popped me instantly out of a power struggle I didn’t even know I was in. I was struck by the suddenness with which I had been transported from my place of hurt, anger and judgment to a place of curiosity.

To Be Continued …

Part Two: The Surprise Ending

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