Last week I wrote about thoughts that had spun off as a result of my son getting song lyrics wonderfully wrong. Ironically, yesterday my daughter did the EXACT SAME THING and it has sent me into an entirely different tailspin. So, musings on song lyrics, round two:
Somewhat out of the blue yesterday, my five-year old daughter started singing “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off.” You know, “You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to; you say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to. Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to; To-may-to, To-mah-to… let’s call the whole thing off!” She was singing this at the top of her lungs, only she revised it spectacularly to go “Let’s call the whole thing ON!”
At first I chuckled to myself. And then I had a gut-wrenching realization. How often do I just “call the whole thing off” when faced with a disagreement or misunderstanding? How often do I say or think to myself “oh, just forget it?” when something isn’t going smoothly? How often do I stop when something starts to feel hard?
The truth? A lot.
In an extreme attempt to avoid conflict AT ALL COSTS I can easily default to trying to let things smooth over, or of brushing them under the rug, or looking the other way. I don’t ruffle feathers. I don’t “lean in”. Heck, I’ve been known to lean so far out I practically fall out the window. Sure, this strategy can be effective in a lot of situations—I believe that there is extreme value to rolling with the punches and going with the flow. I am proud of my “not easily offended-ness.” But do I perhaps sometimes use that to hide from the hard things? Umm.
So what if I started trying to “call the whole thing ON” instead? What if I said “I’m sorry” if I feel like I said or did the wrong thing, no matter how small? What if I said “I don’t agree with you” if someone says something that I don’t agree with? What if I said “Hey, that hurt my feelings!” or “Could you explain that?” Would the world end? I doubt it. Would I get embarrassed and blush and feel awkward and possibly even cry? Probably. Would it be worth it? I have a sneaking suspicion that most of the time the answer is “yes.”
Also, and most importantly: what made my daughter singing the song all the more delightful was that the declaration of “calling the whole thing ON” came with a sense of excitement and joy, not dread. It was as if she was saying: “We disagree? Yippee! Game ON—let’s work this out!”I love this, because it means that instead of running away from the problem, suddenly there is no problem, there is only an opportunity.
I think that maybe the more I practice “calling the whole thing ON,” the better I’ll get, the less awkward I’ll feel, and the more I’ll realize that I’m actually leaning in to what matters—greater connections, deeper relationships… and probably even better sleep at night. And to that I say, Game ON!
How can you “Call The Whole Thing ON” today?
Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share? E-mail her at email@example.com.