This morning I had the pleasure of taking Goldilocks to school. I love doing this because, when it’s just the two of us, our conversations get … let’s call them interesting. She’s deep and thoughtful, and often a good sounding board for my more rudimentary philosophies.
We were talking this morning about judgement, and the defence of right and wrong. (You probably think you know where this is going. You don’t. (And did I mention that she’s 13?))
Let me share the conversation. (Another parentheses, I know. But I have to highlight the fact that I’m not embellishing what she said. These are her actual words. This is how she speaks – and thinks.)
Goldilocks: You know, all you need in life is three things: determination, imagination, and love. If you have these things, you don’t even really need courage. You can accomplish anything.
Me: Well, courage helps. And if you have enough determination, by default, you’ll turn out to be brave.
Goldilocks: That’s what I mean. Bravery comes from being determined.
(A short pause while we both digested that. Then:)
Goldilocks: If you have those three qualities, you can be the best person in the world.
(This is her ultimate goal: to be the best person in the world at the things that matter to her – like physics, languages, animal ethology, astronomy, and research.)
Me: (Never one to miss a learning moment – especially if I can use it to haul out my “Let’s-Not-Discriminate” Soapbox.) I don’t really like the word “best”. It implies comparison. And as soon as you compare, someone has to be worse than you – no matter how much you hate and avoid being judgemental.
Goldilocks: I do hate being judged. And judging.
Me: Yep. It’s exhausting.
Goldilocks: Why do people even do it? It’s so tiring, and it fixes nothing.
Me: Judgement is based in fear. People are terrified about being wrong. So scared, in fact, that they’ll do whatever it takes to defend the “rightness” of what they believe – no matter what proof they’re given to the contrary. But for me to be right, if you disagree with me then, by definition, you must be wrong. I judge you to be wrong in order to defend my rightness – to protect myself and feel safe in the belief choices I’ve made.
(Another (long) pause while we both considered this.)
Goldilocks: I don’t think we should label things as “right” and “wrong”. I think we should use different words … like “knowing” and “learning”. So you either know something for sure … or you’re learning about it.
Yep. I like that.