Welcome to The Daily Kind, where we help you stay inspired to raise humans ready for anything.
I'm Kirk Wheeler. It's March 15th, 2021. I'm so glad you're here.
The idea there's more than one version of the truth goes back a long time. As soon as human beings learned how to communicate, they learned that not everyone hears the same things in the same way, at the same time, we all process information differently, and many times we selectively choose what to remember about events based on a variety of factors. And when people share a moment, but experience that moment differently, it can be hard for truth to be the soil.
“There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently.”― Robert Evans
Imagine this simple conversation between you and the human you're raising
You: If we have time, we can have dessert after lunch.
Human you are raising: Can we have ice cream?
Now fast forward to right after lunch, and it turns out that there's not enough time to have dessert. And when you say this out loud, it doesn't go over well. And this conversation happens.
Human you are raising: But you promised we could have ice cream.
You: I didn't promise you could have ice cream and we don't have time.
Now, imagine this is what each person heard.
(MUFFLED VOICE)...We can have dessert after lunch.
Can we have...(MUFFLED VOICE)
Maybe when you said dessert was an option, and they didn't hear the, "if we have time" part, they were thinking about Minecraft or something one of their friends said to them. And when they asked you if ice cream was a possibility, you were thinking about a bill that needed to be paid or a meeting you were presenting at, and then realizing you didn't hear what they actually said, you responded with the safe, "Maybe".
The way each of us were members a situation can sometimes be very different and the details don't always stick. And since our memories are some of the most esoteric and hard to hold parts of our existence, they often present us with challenges.
One of my favorite recent books on this topic is by two sisters, Hilde Østby, and Ylva Østby. One is a writer and one is a neuropsychologist, it's called Diving For Seahorses: The Science of Memory, and the book feels like the beginning of a much wider and deeper conversation. Here's a passage that I think can help us understand what's going on in moments like these.
“One of the leading memory theories now is that the hippocampus assembles the elements that make up a memory like a director of a play. When we reach for a memory, the hippocampus finds all the elements and arranges them for us, filling in any missing details from what else we know of the world.”― Hilde Østby, Ylva Østby
So what's the takeaway? (VO: I thought you said we could take away ice cream.)
How can you help the humans you are raising realize that there is usually more than one way to look at a situation, and the way we remember things may not always be accurate. This comes with a warning though, you need to be careful to make sure that they still feel like you believe them and trust them. And don't bring in too much self doubt about their own ability to remember things. The truth is that some of us are better at this than others, and we really have no way of knowing who may have this as a superpower. There are actually some people who can remember every day of their lives in vivid detail.
The way I like to approach this is to check myself first. As I know, I struggle with remembering details, even when I've tried hard to stay present in a particular conversation. But just sharing that you struggle with this too, can sometimes help them see that they might, and hopefully allows space for more forgiveness, more grace and more kindness.
I hope you find this helpful. Be sure to take care of yourself today. Drink some water. And remember there is no perpetual parenting playbook.
We're all learning as we go. And with curiosity is our map and a willingness to consider that there may be another side to the story. We can be ready for anything.
So good luck. You've got this. I'm rooting for