The Platinum Rule

I have knowledge of many things, but none of that knowledge is deep. I am used to using elementary language to settle battles and am constantly strategizing to stay one step ahead of the small tyrants around me who fight to rule the world, but I seem to find myself running step behind the rest of the world more times than I would like.

I haven’t always been this way. I used to at least FEEL prepared; even if I was just naïve, there was a confidence that was there to catch me if I really wasn’t equipped.  

Ideas and questions flip through my head so quickly now – moving from one demand to the next all day long has trained me to be able to put out many small fires, but my skills in what I know will prevent those fires is lacking. I am preoccupied by looking around for smoke to notice that I forgot and left the matches down low enough for someone to grab them and set something new ablaze.

Platinum hair for 100 days of school

It’s the new year. The time for clean slates and new goals, but I’m so far behind. Just trying to survive is enough for my plate right now. Catching my breath would be a luxury.

Last week I left a meeting where I don’t think my point was well-communicated and therefore not well-received, and it was infuriating. I was shaking when I got in the car. I spent the few minutes driving across town between the meeting and my youngest son’s school with the Fleetwood Mac’s “Second Hand News” at full volume. Something about their combined voices and instruments on that song is guaranteed to push a reset button on my mood.  

I was frustrated that the people in charge who hold all the power aren’t listening. They amassed us together, asked us to help, so why aren’t they listening? 

I have the book “The Purpose of Power” by Alicia Garza on my shelf, but I haven’t read it yet. I bought it because I want to understand more about the currency that some hold when others don’t and how it can be used to create rather than take things away.

It is fascinating to me that power can change hands so quickly through interpersonal relationships and how, oftentimes, the ones who hold it all don’t actually know what to do with it. Why are people desperate to have it then? I have to believe that there is a lot more that goes into it than just what I see on the surface.

Why is it hard to actually listen to what someone is saying rather than just hearing the noise that is coming out of their mouth? Where is the platinum rule, huh? To treat people the way they want to be treated?

I picked up the first kid from his school, then the second from his and then the third from hers, all three times thinking that I was listening and present and paying attention. Asking about each child’s day and celebrating their wins while zooming down the road, I thought I was really nailing this multitasking mom thing when the youngest slashed his finger on the back of a toy garbage truck.

We were racing down Cantrell Road trying to get the oldest to his piano lesson on time. With one of my arms stretched backwards to hold the tiny, bleeding hand and the other hand on the steering wheel, I did what I could to shush the crying. Two things at once – all power and control – for I couldn’t stop the train and still get us to piano in time.

“I can get you a band aid when we stop,” I told Gus – meaning that in about five minutes when we got where we were going, I would give him the attention he needed. 

“Nooo! I need you now!” He wailed, clearly using his authority to tell me to stop the car and use my power to take care of his problem immediately.

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