When your kid’s an outside of the box thinker…

…and you don’t even think about what’s outside the box.

So I just had an amazing revelation several months ago.  It’s kinda crazy that it took me so long to realize it. 

My daughter (who, at the time was shortly going to be turning 16) was asking me questions about driving while we were in the car.  You see, here in our neck of the woods, turning 16 means that you can get a learner’s permit. Anyways, we were discussing various rules of the road, and she asked me about the yellow lines in the middle of the road. She asked, “if one dotted line means both sides can pass, and a solid line and a dotted line means only one side can pass, then why are there two double lines for no passing?  Why not just one solid line?”

I had no answer!  My initial thought was- “there must be a good reason for it so why even bother asking?”  but even after googling it I still don’t know the answer. It does seem like it would save money if they only put one solid line, doesn’t it?

Ok, besides being a good question, the thing that was so eye-opening to me was, “why had I never questioned that?”

And my answer: because I am, when it comes to things I don’t have control over, a rule-follower and I don’t ask questions.  To me, there is no sense in wasting my energy and time thinking about it because there is nothing I can do to change it anyways. 

My daughter, though?  She has a totally different approach.  She’s got to see all of the options. She’s an out-of-the-box thinker. An interrogater.  Not afraid to question authority (well this one is no surprise!). A seeker of a better way.

I had never realized that this is the way she approaches life. I probably should have!  The fact is that often her questions about my decisions or actions can feel threatening to me (and disrespectful).  But I’m realizing now that in many cases she is not necessarily meaning disrespect but instead seeking. Seeking both to understand more fully and then to see if there’s a better way.

And now, understanding this, I am able to have a different perspective on much of our interactions. 

Seriously, this girl is going to change our world. I love her and now that I’m starting to understand her better, I also love and appreciate her drive and determination to make the world a better place. 

Do you have a child that thinks outside the box? Or at least outside of YOUR box?  How has that realization impacted your relationship?

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