Little Austin, my nephew, was taught the following for his house visits:
1. Only knock on doors with your parents present. CHECK!
2. People are expecting you. CHECK!
3. Doorways are for hugging. HE TRIED!
Even though he didn’t know the homeowner, since from his knee-high vantage point, all legs look the same, he went by what he’d been taught and by instinct.
Austin’s dinosaur-door adventure was a teachable moment. It had depth and rang the Brave Tutu bell. He certainly was full of “courage in delight,” the key being Austin’s confident determination. What if, like Austin, we walked through unknown challenges like we belonged there?
One step to this “belonging” boils down to creating self-comfort amidst the uncertainty in human encounters. Before any of my big “career-changing” meetings, my brother often tells me, “Just remember, Rebekah, you’re not meeting Gandhi.” Meant with respect, this comical antidote grounds me to humanity. This “powerful” person I’m about to meet probably also growls at their alarm clock . They, too, have memories of brightly-colored LEGOs or blowing bubbles on a summer afternoon. With this shift in mentality, I can approach conversations with new acquaintances on common ground.
Austin didn’t hesitate in the doorway because he had his own check-list. His parents’ guidance opened the door to delight. Like him, we each need our own “doorway” check-list for daunting encounters. These might include:
1. Most meetings are with humans who have things in common with us. CHECK!
2. If stairs (obstacles) are involved, we can take those one at a time. CHECK!
3. If they don’t let you in, it’s their dino-sized mistake. CHECK IT!
Of course, visualizing thrilled people who are ready to adorn us with candy wouldn’t hurt either.
Your Brave Tutu (You’re brave, too-too!)
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*Eager for more? Check out A Costume, Not a Mask where I explore more about what costumes might mean.