This last week I had the joy of spending several days with my nieces in Nashville, TN. I won’t be seeing them over the holidays, so this was fun timing to get to see them just before Thanksgiving. At times, it was just me hanging out with Lucy (5) and Nora (3) and we would talk about various subjects pulled from whatever thoughts were flowing through their heads at that moment. On one occasion, I was sitting next to Lucy while she was watching a tv show and I had glanced down at my phone, when all of a sudden Lucy exclaimed, “It’s the Big Stink! Look Aunt Jes, it’s The Big Stink!” I look from my phone to the TV to find out what she possibly could be talking about, I noticed the scene was in Egypt, and there was a view of the Great Sphynx filling the television screen!
To my amusement, I corrected Lucy and let her know, that the Big Stink was actually called the Great Sphynx. We must have gone back and forth on this several times as the wheels in her head turned to recall what I can only assume was the occasion when she learned about this archaeological wonder. After a minute or two she agreed with me.
This got me thinking about how our understanding of truth can be molded and shaped throughout our lives. Lucy’s perception of truth was completely accurate in her mind until I came along to gently correct her misunderstanding. The only way she was able to change her truth was because she trusted me and I was able to reason with her how her perception of truth seemed right because of how the words sounded, but the reality was that they were inaccurate. I enjoyed a couple of things about this interaction. First of all, the sheer entertainment of it all, but secondly, Lucy’s willingness to change her truth once she saw that it was inaccurate.
I realized after reflecting on this interaction, that small misunderstandings of truth occur quite often in our relationships, often and especially when we make assumptions about a situation. I know I am guilty of this when I make a snap judgment or an assumption about another person instead of being curious about the situation and asking a question. Asking questions are so helpful in clarifying what the other person is thinking, and are useful in allowing the other person to be heard, which also makes them feel valued.
Try it! Next time you find yourself making a snap judgment about maybe your friend, spouse, child or neighbor, ask a curious question instead. See how it goes and then let me know about your experience! If you would like more information about how to ask curious questions, how to listen for the heart of the issue, or how to dive into deeper conversations, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org