I had an aha moment on the weekend, that nearly made my head explode - it was a good thing it didn't as I was in the car and that would have been a mess. We were listening to Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast (from the 1.9.16) and he was rambling on about a great vodka over ice or something, and he was saying that you had it on the porch like you were in the 1800's and then he said 'We won't dwell on that because unless you were white, that was a really bad time for you'. It hit me. I furnish every mention of history completely differently to others. In my head it was all white crinolines and Jane Austen/Southern Belle/Days of the Raj with gin and tonics on the verandah but 1800's doesn't just mean that. It means slavery, oppression and a myriad of other things depending on the colour of your skin.
I have talked about how we can never really walk a mile in someone else's shoes before, but this was such a clear and succinct example. And something I'd never thought about. We are taught history in 'bits'. This happened and then this happened. However, it's all happening all the same time. I was taught 'White' history. However that was not the only side to history. When you visit Vietnam, you get a clear idea of the different versions of 'history'.
When we talk about something, we think everyone understands it the same as us but everyone is furnishing it with their understanding. There truly is no reality, only perception. It's worth remembering that when dealing with children, especially teens. Their reality is completely different to ours. What they hear us say is not necessarily what we are trying to tell them. In the movie 2 Guns, there's a throw away comment "If you're hearing something, it's only because you're hearing it, not because I'm saying it". I think that's more profound than I realised at the time. What I'm saying and what you're hearing can be two different things, depending on your experience, as was the case with the casual Burr comment. Hugely different things.
I guess all we can do is try to check ourselves. When talking to our children, especially teens, try and speak their language a little better, so that what we're saying is also what they're hearing.
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