On the way home from singing lessons, Maya asked me, “Dad, can people talk when they are in Heaven?” “To each other, I suppose. But not to people who are still alive.” I responded. “So, then Michael Jackson can talk to God, ‘cuz he’s dead?” she queried. “Yup.” I said. I was really thinking, “but God would tell him to Beat It!”
My wife and I were chuckling about how yesterday I mentioned she felt I’d be a better husband if I were mute. I was suddenly struck by the question of what would happen if we all were mute. What if others could only interpret our intent through our actions?
I’ve been reading a business book called “The No Asshole Rule” and while I don’t particularly recommend it, I connected some of the ideas in the book with the concept of being without words. It would be much harder to hide that you were a jerk or that you didn’t care when you couldn’t use words to lie. I think that kids would learn better when we couldn’t rely on “do what I say, not what I do.” There’d be no disconnect, no cognitive dissonance, no confusion.
Being in government, I go to a lot of meetings. In fact, I host meetings, attend meetings, plan meetings for other people and plan to avoid meetings if I can. That’s a whole lot of words. I know I’ve been in meetings where I’d like to have a mute button since the government doesn’t supply meeting rooms like in a James Bond movie that drop idiots into shark tanks. Well, I don’t get to use those rooms anyhow. I have a 3 volume tome that helps me interpret words based on their legal context. We just had 3 different court cases that each interpreted the same word differently.
What a world it would be if we made actions our measure and not the words around them. Huh.
It seems odd to state, but our family has shared all of the exciting things that have happened together at the same time. What I mean is, when big things happen in our family, we are all together when they happen. Vacations are all together. School plays, swim tests, piano recitals have all been family events and thus, family experiences. Milo’s new career as an actor and a model is changing our family dynamic. More and more, only one of his mother or I are able to be with him when new things are happening. So it is becoming more about how well we can communicate what happened as opposed to communicating about how we felt about what happened.
It would be easier if we were better story tellers. Milo’s idea of telling a story is to start at the end. “It was cool. Yeah, that’s it.” Or he’ll tell the story in a random order, very free form.
“Yeah, so I went in and after we were done the lady put on her hat. I wanted to sit down when we were practicing but the other guy had a drink and I like coke so I kinda wanted one. I’m hungry. Are we going home?” What a clear picture of what happened.
If he doesn’t want to share, which is often. He just gets mad at my probing questions.
“What did you learn tonight at the seminar?”
“Um, eye contact is important and you’re always being judged.”
“Is that all?”
“yeah, pretty much.”
“You were there for 2 and a half hours. All you got was eye contact?”
“You wouldn’t understand!!! I can’t explain it.”
“Well, try. Please?”
“We did an exercise. She taught us how to never say no.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, like if I was a grandmother who was sitting outside of her birthday party cause she didn’t like it.”
“Do you expect to ever become a grandmother that doesn’t like the birthday party being thrown for you?”
“AAAHHH!!! I hate you. You never understand!”
I hope we get better over time or we’ll never have anything to talk about.