I’ve been asked, “Can’t you take a joke?” more than a few times, and I bet you have too. Ever notice how it is always after someone has said something that is offensive and disrespectful?
Does the question leave you speechless the way it does me?
Do we take the time to sit down and listen to ourselves and understand how our words are heard by others? Or do we believe our words to be empty and meaningless and therefore, unimportant?
It’s a lame attempt to cover up for a rude statement by shifting responsibility from the speaker to the listener. The original statement and the ‘joke’ question that follows are disrespectful behavior. They take away from our intimacy and enjoyment of each other.
I have an answer to that question. My answer puts responsibility back where it belongs. Even better, it allows me to maintain my self-respect and show respect for others.
Here’s a hint: it’s not a smart-mouthed comeback.
Are you getting ready to be together with friends and family later today? Does your menu look like this: the
Today we give thanks for the courage to be who we really are and for all those who give us loving acceptance.
traditional fare, plus gluten-free versions, plus dairy-free alternatives, plus vegan options?
What about the family dynamics? Will there be hushed conversations or knowing looks that say: Don’t let this one have too much to drink. She isn’t speaking to her. Wonder if he’s still out of work after all this time?
Juggling all the dietary and emotional needs of our families makes it hard to feel thankful and loving, doesn’t it?
Many years ago I volunteered to travel with my daughters’ high school choir and band to a regional competition. My girls were in choir, and not in band. So when the time came for the band to leave the classroom where we were waiting our turn, I volunteered to stay behind and keep an eye on our stuff (we had been warned not to leave valuables unattended).
Choosing words that convey our meaning and consider the feelings of those who hear us lead us to better relationships.
What I said to the other parents was, “I’ll stay, I don’t care about the band.”
Of course what I meant, what I was saying in my head, was, “My children are not performing, your children are, of course you want to hear them. I will want to hear my children in the choir when their turn comes. In the meantime, I’ll stay behind so none of you have to miss your child’s performance.”