Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Right back atcha
Insert foot A into mouth B.
I think my son has it right. He's generally mute, moving silently through classes and church and Scouts, keeping his thoughts to himself. Another student recently observed that A speaks only when spoken to. Very true.
The benefit of that reserve is that he rarely speaks out of turn. (He saves those moments for his family, and the mis-speaks are legendary.)
My daughter is more socially adept, with an inherent tact that I find amazing. Proof that some traits are just pre-wired at birth.
My husband is frustratingly calm, no matter what the situation. He has the gift of seeing both sides of a debate without giving up his position. And staying on subject even when everyone else is meandering around emotional backwaters.
I am well known for getting pretty passionate about things, especially those concerning my kids and their schools. Nothing makes me go from cool to hot faster. There have been quite a few opportunities for strong feelings this year at Dunwoody High School, which is going through some uncomfortable growing pains.
The root of this introspection about mis-speaking? I was the beneficiary of some very poorly worded news yesterday, and am still trying to put things into perspective. The person sharing the tidings is well known for foot-in-mouth-itis, so I understand that the intent was not to diminish. But the effect nonetheless is there.
I've learned to write emails with the "to" frame blank (no more accidentally sent missives). I have forced myself to edit my remarks to the bare essentials. I breathe deeply and say I'll think about something before I give a decision. I smile and redirect the ignorant and misguided.
But every now and then, I put my foot in my mouth. And that fact keeps me humble.