being 47 is better, and let’s consider honoring the other

Posted: August 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

Those of you who have been around here for awhile maybe recall that I really, really love being the age that I am – that I wouldn’t go backward for all the money in the world.  I don’t understand those of you who want to be teenagers again – I’m just glad to have survived it the first time through.  I don’t want to be in my 20s and I don’t consider those to have been “the best years of my life,” though I know many do look back to that passage with great fondness.  I can only say about my 20s that they were better than my teens.  My 30s were better than my 20s.  My 40s are better than my 30s were, and I am very much looking forward to the Big Five Oh. 

The list of “reasons why older is better for me” is a long one and I won’t try to even make a dent in it here.  But ONE of the reasons is:  I have learned and am continuing to learn ways of thinking and speaking that are life-giving and conducive to peace, rather than divisive and chaos-inducing. 

Our pastor shared today on that topic an important tidbit that resonates with me – while I didn’t have the phrase for it, it is the essence of much of the change for me.  She said that around their house, a question that gets asked a lot is, “How can you say that in a more honoring way?” 

An example she gave is:  rather than asking, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!” (and really, WHO hasn’t wanted to ask that question at least once?!) one might say something like, “I know you have thought this through and have a reason for doing it that way.  I want to understand and I need your help.  Could you explain?” 

I love that example!  The first approach puts the other person on the defensive and calls their judgment into question.  It speaks DOWN to them.  It sets an adversarial tone, or at least has huge potential to push old buttons, if the one hearing ever got wounded in a relationship by “you’re so stupid” type messages.  It doesn’t seek peace, it seeks to be “right” – and being right is WAY, WAY overrated as compared to building unity in a relationship. 

The second approach starts with respect.  It assumes the best of the other person, and if you think that is not biblical, I’d like to know what YOUR interpretation of “love hopes all things, believes all things” is – I’ve always seen it (or at least a large part of it) as assuming the best of intentions and motivations in others.  It invites the other person to open up, to share, in the safe setting of not being called an idiot, even indirectly.  It allows for the possibility that the other might actually be wise, even if you don’t yet understand any wisdom in what they have done.  It speaks on a level of equals – partners, even.  It leaves room for compromise and negotiation, far away from the battleground of Who Is Right. 

“A more honoring way.”  It is an important framework for all negotiating conversations.  If my objective is more about “honoring” than about “getting my way,” the end result is more likely to be harmonious.  It does require one to give up the right to run the show, to get instant results, to be declared the winner, etc.  But the payoff…oh, the payoff. 

20-year-old me could not have appreciated the beauty of the payoff.  She’d have been blustering and huffing and protesting about what might be lost in working it out.  30-year old me was closer to grasping it, but still needed the other party to do the right thing, as part of the give-and-take.  47-year old me?  She gets it.  She’s willing.  She embraces the concept.

Just one of the endless reasons I’d never, ever, EVER go back.  Not for all the money in the world. 

  1. Pam Spangler says:

    another well written blog-God bless

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