The Daily Groove


The Benefit of the Doubt

Have you ever been upset with someone for doing or saying something, only to realize later that you had misunderstood them, and you wished you'd given them "the benefit of the doubt"?

Truth is, everyone deserves that benefit, because ALL upsets are misunderstandings born of conditionality.

And no one deserves that benefit more than children. The younger they are, the more their words and actions are merely "experimental," or rough approximations of things they've observed. They're trying to figure out how life works.

When you give them the benefit of the doubt (for example, by not taking it personally when they experiment with unkind words they've heard others use), children learn that their relationship with you is a safe place in which to grow.

And you benefit yourself, too, because you're doubting your "reason" for being upset. With no such reason, you're left with the simple pleasures of inner peace, heart-felt connection, and appreciation of Life's endless unfolding.

Yep, so true

The younger they are, the more their words and actions are merely "experimental," or rough approximations of things they've observed. They're trying to figure out how life works.

We had just such an incident this week. Our son told Grandpa to "shut his mouth"! We heard about it a couple days later. Our son isn't in the habit of talking this way, but in the last year we do see him testing out different phrases, expressions, and different body language.

I may have been a little harsh when scolding him. Better to approach the situation as him "experimenting" rather than deliberately being rude.

I may have been a little

I may have been a little harsh when scolding him. Better to approach the situation as him "experimenting" rather than deliberately being rude.

Yes. And in my experience, you can forgo scolding altogether and get a much better result by calmly explaining the usual meaning of the phrase and suggesting a more appropriate one.