Do you spell Truth with a capital T?
I’ve come to believe that there is no Truth with a capital T. When you’re living in a family, you either push, pull and dictate to get your capital T kind truth across or you let go and realize there are many truths, one for each member of the family. The fear is that letting go means losing your truth—what you think is right. Fear causes friction and fighting to get your truth to the top—because you’re the parent after all.
The jockeying that goes on in a family, sometimes with pain and agony, is really the process of negotiating all these truths. If negotiation doesn’t happen, some truths go unheard and unrecognized. Someone else’s truth has bullied its way through and made it the Truth, the only truth, the whole truth. When one truth is on top, everyone else’s is subverted. And we know what that leads to.
When negotiation happens, all the truths bat up against each other. It’s messy, not easy, and sometimes quite unpleasant. Maybe one person’s truth comes out on top this time and another next time or a little bit of everyone’s truth combines to make the resolve. But the result is everyone’s truth is heard.
This carried right into the world at large, and city, country or worldwide problems arise when people believe their truth is the one and only Truth. What does it take to let go of that and incorporate other truths? Fear arises that my truth will be stamped out by someone else’s or a bigger truth if I don’t yell and scream and throw money at my truth and demand that it is the one and only. Unfortunately the truths with the most money usually win.
Back to the family. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if we all teach our children that their truths matter, that they will create a society in which we acknowledge and respect many truths—world peace? I know, pie in the sky. But I think it’s a movement that is worth starting and what better place than in our families so our children grow up knowing that their truth is their birth right as is everyone else’s.
Not only did my truth not matter, I didn’t even have a truth when I was young. Or I lost it somewhere early on. My father’s truth ruled with a capital T. But any system of authority when there is one Truth only is about control. And when control rules, no other truth is heard because control fears discord more than anything. It has to be right and so everyone else either goes along or has to be wrong. I went along. My brother was wrong.
When children are fighting and screaming, they are just trying to get their truth heard. The more they feel heard, the less they fight and scream. When your kids argue with you they are pointing out what is true for them. Their arguments are attempts at saying, Hey wait a minute, we’re headed in the wrong direction, we need to change course. You might see it differently. That’s fine. It’s just your truth bumping up against your child’s. It’s messy. One truth might win this time or each gets a little win. But if your child thinks he never wins, you’re in for more and more arguing—the nasty kind.
Whenever there is disagreement with the one Truth, there is reprisal. Reprisal means fear is at work. When you have to be right, ask yourself, What am I afraid of? Answer that question before you go any further. You can even say, “I can’t answer you right now. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.” Then do it.
When the capital T truth rules, children go unheard. Perhaps they get used to it as I did. But if they can’t just take it in, they rebel. So the task at hand is to learn how to back off—not from actively parenting, from being right. Parenting actually gets more active when everyone’s truths are being heard. It’s harder than having one Truth per family. It means you’re listening, you’re thinking, you’re respecting, you’re considering, you’re weighing options. There isn’t a right and a wrong. That’s why this parenting business is so hard. But ironically, once you let go, it has an amazing way of getting so much easier.