Roles were reversed at my house yesterday. The tribute to my sister was actually the second blog entry I wrote that day, after my older daughter persuaded me I'd regret it if I posted the first one.
The first one was written while I still had my knickers in a twist over something that had started out as a little irritating pinprick and then festered in my mind until it seemed to be crying out for me to set the record straight. To my way of thinking, what I wrote was a great piece of work. It was scathing, biting, brilliantly (or so I thought) sarcastic, with a few well-placed zingers that would have shaken my literary middle finger right in the face of the person who'd angered me. Not that that individual would have actually read it, but at the time that seemed to be beside the point.
Fortunately, I had the good sense to realize I needed to let it sit for a little while before spewing my indignity out into cyberspace. During that cooling-off period, I passed it by my daughter, who already knew why I was steaming. She read it and asked me a few questions:
If [that person] were to read this post, are you willing to sacrifice the relationship?
Maybe, I said with a shrug of my shoulders, if it came to that.
Do you think the preachiness of your post might anger some readers you don't want to lose?
Ummmmm...possibly. I suppose. Actually, there was a good chance of it, because preachiness is exactly what had aroused my ire in the first place.
Would telling someone off be worth the fallout you're likely to get by stirring up controversy?
Maybe not...but maybe so. I don't know. I'll have to think about it. I was wavering, but I was still mad. I'd made a lot of valid points in that post, by golly, and I didn't want to waste them.
Then my daughter said something that stopped me cold: Even though I know where you're coming from, I think the tone of this post sounds like the voice I hear when you and I argue about something and you have to have the last word...and that's not the best side of you. That clinched it. She was right.
Because of something I learned a long time ago in a team-building class, I'm usually the one encouraging everybody else to "let it go." Think of the higher value, I say. I know it isn't fair, and I know you're dying to respond, but don't lose sight of your goal. Focus on the best thing you can do right now to make things turn out the way you want them to in the end. Sometimes, that means not saying everything that's on your mind just because you think it needs to be said.
I didn't figure out that piece of wisdom by myself, even though I should have, given the ample experience I'd had with my own words coming back to bite me in the butt. I'd had to be taught. Obviously, it was time for a refresher course. I'm happy to report that it's still good advice, and it was interesting to find myself on the receiving end of it. I could have made things so much worse.
And today? Everything is okey-dokey!