Friday, September 30, 2011

assign positive intent

as i watched noah and our neighbor boy play i felt such warm fuzzies i felt compelled to share this...
so cute, right? they were using trash to entertain themselves, and as always, creating a competition. i love boys.

no sooner had i hit "post" on facebook then i heard a crash and the sound that can only be shattering glass.
i instinctively yelled "what happened?!" and just as instinctively my son said "i didn't do it!".
at that moment i was poised and ready to attack. there was going to be some yelling and probably a bit of berating thrown in for good measure? had i not preached we don't throw balls in the house? shouldn't he know better? but, the moment he said "i didn't do it" i realized the deadly throw that brought my beautiful ceramic bird to it's demise must have come from the hands of our neighbor boy. that changed everything. i knew he didn't intend to break my knick knack. he probably didn't even know what a knick knack was. he was just playing. just being, as i love, a boy. all desire to yell...all plans to berate went out the window. i just picked up my broom and smiled.
what hit me as i was sweeping up the pieces was how i was so prepared to unleash on my son. why is it that becuase it was someone else's kid, i could have grace. i could see there really was no harm intended. had it been my child, there would have only been anger.
it reminded me of something i've been working on since i "heard" a friend talk about it on facebook. she mentioned "assigning positive intent". i asked what that meant and she explained it was assuming a person's intent was positive, even if their actions appeared differently. this goes for other drivers on the road (ouch), people in front of you in the grocery store, and even your husband. now, of course, sometimes people are just jerks. but, often when they are inconveniencing me, or putting me out in some way, there really is no malicious intent.
when i began thinking about this i immediately came to my children (deep ouch). how often do i see their behavior, or the results of it, and assume the worst. immediately go into "reprimand" or "correction" without considering the intention, or the situation, or the fact that they could just be havin a bad day. maybe they need my understanding rather than my judgement. maybe they aren't out soley to make my life more difficult.
or that maybe...they're just a little boy.


Melissa said...

So true! Especially with our kids!

Tonya said...

Thank you for this insightful post, I need this reminder as well. :)