Friday, July 17, 2009

Being Progressive

Once when my older brothers were complaining to my uncle that they never got to do what the other kids were doing. These kids were moving about doing cool stuff they reasoned. But in reality, many were just hanging out and getting into trouble.

My very astute uncle looked at them, waited a bit, and said in his usual contemplative tone, "they may be moving, but in the wrong direction." This has stuck with me for many many years. I was five.

All movement is not progress.

8 comments:

Brosreview said...

Very true! I was on that "wrong direction" for quite some time. I am glad I realized and took a U-Turn. Thanks for sharing this. It brought back memories!

septembermom said...

I'm going to use your uncle's wise statement with my kids. It's great!

Judith Ellis said...

Ajey - I've made many U-Turns in my life, often under the watchful eye of my mother and other elders who knew the way but during such times withheld judgment. This way I learned for myself once the foundation was laid. And it had indeed been. The beauty is in the turn. All the very best, my young, talented and thoughtful friend.

Judith Ellis said...

Yes, I thought so too, septembermom. It has stayed with me for quite some time. When he said it I tried to wrap my little mind around it. But I think I got it then. Its essence has deepened over time.

rebecca said...

This brings to mind also a statement that my husband said his father had said to him when he was a teenager. Complaining of same said things as your brothers his father answered that although they were living in America, once he stepped foot in his house, he was back in his parent's birth country and was expected to abide by the rules of their ways. I thought this was such a strong statement to make and I admired the power behind it. Although raised in the States since he was a baby, my husband was raised strictly by their ways (which left little room for troublemaking although that did not stop my husband from pushing the envelope) and in time developed very strong ties to his paternal/maternal cultural roots. My mother as well raised me in the ways of her world and being sassy, questioning her, raising my voice or asking to 'hang out' was unheard of. I was not allowed to hang out, go to parties and was expected to bring home good grades. Luckily I had a quiet, studious disposition so this factored very little in my life. But yeah, I understand all about movement and the different directions it can take and we can now thank our parents and influential others for keeping us on that right track.

Judith Ellis said...

Rebecca - Thank you very much for your words. I enjoy hearing the lives of other families; I appreciate how others were raised and value their often diverse experiences. But reading your words, it seems as if we were raised in a similiar fashion.

I must also admit that I challenged my mother quite often and tried to talk back. It wasn't happening, though. Even if I had said something throughout the day that wasn't proper, I could not sleep at night. She had often quoted the scripture, "Don't let the sun go down on your wrath."

Sleeping through discomfort because of something I had said or done was not an option. But as I grew up I later determined that you could not control the words or actions of others and not to expect others to apologize when they have done you wrong or said something inappropriately to intentionally hurt.

My sleep is usually very sweet.

rebecca said...

I love your mother's quote from scripture. I'll have to remember that.

I also like your last paragraph. Although I always try to stay aware about treating others with lovingkindness and understanding, I know, as part of being human, I have moments where I falter. And, as such, so do others. But, I must say, it took me years, decades, to not allow the words/actions of others hurt me in a way that it no longer affected me (I think it still does to a certain extent). But, like you, what I was taught was that regardless of other's actions, never was I to repay in kind. That is just something so ingrained in my DNA that I am incapable of forcing it otherwise. And, like you, I can very well lay my head on the pillow each night knowing that I have not wronged and have done my very best. I think you and I were very fortunate to have such loving and sage mothers.

Judith Ellis said...

I love your words, Rebecca. They remind me of what I will yet be and strengthen me. We are forever becoming more of what we will yet be. My sights are set high.