Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Maybe Game

My little one and I have a game. When he wants to do something, I say, "Maybe" in a silly voice. He giggles and repeats the same tone and we go back and forth over and over again until we are both laughing so hard we can't continue. It's just one of those games that moms with babies play but it did get me thinking.

I remembered a game my mom used to play with us called the maybe game. It started when my sister and I were in our pre-teen years and were very very cool. In fact, no one was quite as cool as us. "Oh. My. God. What is she wearing?" we would say to each other as a girl walked past us at the mall.

"Maybe she doesn't have a mom to take her shopping or good friends to teach her style," my mom would say. Both of us would get quiet quickly.   

A few days would pass then she would catch one of us saying something like, "His teeth are rotting in the front! That is so disgusting!" 

Again, my mom would jump in. "Maybe his parents can't afford to take him to the dentist," she would say. Maybe that was true.

While her maybe game wasn't funny, it was so important during a time in our lives when we were so quick to judge.As teenagers, we all struggled to figure out where we fit in the world. Somewhere along the line we learned that the best way to do this was to establish reasons why we are better than everyone else. And sometimes, if we aren't careful, this way of thinking sticks.

I still find myself wondering what a girl was thinking when she got dressed that morning but I always try to play the maybe game in my mind. Maybe she just had a baby and she's exhausted. Maybe she is fighting with her husband. Maybe she can't afford anything better. She has a reason and it's not my place to judge her.

I am looking forward to the days when I will begin to play the maybe game with my kids. Here's hoping that it sticks.

How do you help to teach your children not to judge other people? How do you stop yourself from doing it?

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