When our first born child turned one, a phrase in the newspaper caught my eye. It said, “Right Is Right, Even If the Whole World Is Wrong”. I cut it out and taped it to our refrigerator. It rung a truth in me and I wanted to be reminded of that as I parented. Little did I know how helpful it would become in parenting our boys.
As our first born got a little older and began to challenge us, this reference came in handy as a teaching tool, over and over again. I would incorporate that they are God-given gifts to us and that He expects us to do our absolute best. It became an effective way to interact with my children when they did not want to accept a decision from me about something. I found that this was helpful from the time they were just toddlers. It became the perfect come back for “Everyone else gets to…”
“Jared, I don’t care if the whole world does not take a nap anymore at your age. You are almost 3 and you need to take a nap because you are tired. I have to do what I know is the very best for you – always – even if the rest of the world is not doing the same. Right is right, even if the whole world is wrong.”
“Jared, I don’t care if the whole world does not wear a winter hat to preschool. It is too cold for your baseball cap and you need to wear a warmer hat, even if the rest of the world doesn’t. I have to do what I know is the very best for you. Right is right, even if the whole world is wrong.”
It was not long before my sons would pick up on this theme before I could even finish my sentence. They would say, sometimes grudgingly, "I know, right is right even if the whole world is wrong…” And that was the end of the issue.
One day our youngest, age 5 at the time, came to us with a clever approach. He said, “What do we have to do to get on the same side as the whole world about riding my bike around the block?” We chuckled at his initiative and his critical thinking skills, like any proud parent would. Then, we lovingly gave him hope for his future independence, as we clearly informed him of the boundaries at the time. As time went on we continued to benefit from this simple approach.
“Justin, even though you think all of your friends get to ride their bikes up to the store alone, we don’t think that is the right thing to let you do. We have to do what we think is the very best for you. (Right is right, even if the whole world is wrong.)”
“Justin, I know you think all of your friends get to go to the mall and hang out. I don’t care if the whole world does, your Dad and I don’t believe that is the right thing for you to be doing, so you cannot do that.( Right is right even if the whole world is wrong.)”
Today, our sons are almost 24 and 18. That tattered little paper still hangs on our refridge to this day. It is a fond reference for our family life over all these years. Though the boys joke about this family mantra now, I think it holds a place in their hearts too. In fact, though it certainly frustrated them many a time, I’ll bet both use it when they have children some day. Well….maybe not. Well, maybe kind of like we used “ I used to have to walk a mile to school in snow that was 4 feet deep!.”
Lori Jo Kemper is a PCI Certified Parent Coach® and speaker.
Copyright 2006, Lori Jo Kemper, www.TheParentingPath®