The Zen of Zoe

Wisdom gained from motherhood and marriage

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On Being a Bully Buster

My heart broke and melted at the same time. I was listening from the top of the stairs during a playdate between my daughter Zoe, her BFF, and her other good friend. Her BFF kept complaining about the third friend who was 2 years younger than the two, "Why does Joey (name changed) have to be here? He's a baby and no fun. I bet he'll just mess things up." Joey's feelings were obviously hurt. Before I could process what was happening within the group dynamics I heard my daughter say directly and plainly, "Suzy (name changed), you are being mean. I know you are a nice person but if you keep acting this way Joey will think you are mean too, and no one will want to play with you." Suzy stopped being mean and they all played together without further incident.

My heart broke because at 6 years old, my kid was already experiencing and navigating through bullying behavior. (This wasn't the first time Suzy had tried to exclude others from their play group). How does it come to be that these beautiful children, blank slates of new beings, were already picking on each other and making others feel unwelcome. Remember life as a six year old? All you wanted to do was fit in and be included in your social group. And yet, I had a brave daughter who risked being ostracized from the only world she knew, to right a social wrong.

I've asked Zoe many times why she continues to want to play with Suzy who can be mean, and she replied with such sweet and simple wisdom, "I do bad things sometimes and you still love me." My heart melted. How can I argue with the natural law of love? Universal love finally made sense to me.

Imagine if we, as adults, adopted that philosophy. If we loved each person we met, the same way we loved our own children. Wow! My mind was blown. I forgive my daughter for her mistakes because I love her. Could I apply that same unconditional love to all of mankind? Philosophically my higher brain knows this is the right way to live but my sometimes-louder reactionary lower brain likes to mutter 'idiot driver' when someone cuts me off on the road.

Everything Takes Time

On Lawrence He

Its been two years now since the start of my fantasy football league.  When I first started, I knew nothing about football.  My first draft was a mess - I used a cheat sheet I found in the July issue of ESPN magazine.  I drafted a defense with my 10th round pick (everybody knows you only draft defenses and kickers with the last two picks).  Worst of all, I was in a league full of sports junkies, guys who watch every game every Sunday. 

This season I’m 2nd place, with the best season record.  I’ve made around 7 trades.  I know the names of most teams starting players, and a few of their backups.  

I guess it takes something as trivial as fantasy football to show me that improvement is a long and slow process, but improvement happens.  Too often I look at things and get disappointed because of the results.  I’m so focused on improvement that frustration quickly swells up. Why am I not getting better?  I expect so much from myself that I can’t see small progress for what it is: a tiny bit improvement. 

But everything takes time. 

Even if it takes years, I know that I’ll reach my goals eventually.  And if i can get good at fantasy football, something I don’t care and didn’t even try to get good at, then of course I’ll be good at something I poured sweat and tears into.

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