The Sue Atkins Wednesday Parenting Story To Ponder

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Here’s today’s story from my never-ending notebook and everlasting coloured pencil.

The Hat Trick

The speaker had arrived at the village hall to give a talk that people had eagerly awaited for many weeks. The talk was on a particular contentious issue that touched on the lives of everybody in the village. There were many different points of view and some people had already taken entrenched views as they sought to establish where their own interests lay.

The speaker was just about to begin with her talk when she noticed that everyone in the audience was wearing a hat.

The butcher’s hat was adorned with a string of sausages and two Viking horns made of black pudding. The baker was wearing a hollowed out cottage loaf on her head: the kennel owner wore a bowler hat trimmed with Rottweiler teeth; the priest had a bright red hat from which incense smoke wafted; the farmer’s hat was hewn from tractor tyres; the estate agent wore a hat covered in elaborate sentences full of measurements and hyperboles; and the teacher’s hat was made from a placard protesting against cuts in education and too much paperwork. And there were as many other hats as there were people in the hall.

The speaker paused. She looked at the audience and told them she had never seen such splendid hats in all her life. She complimented each one and wondered whether each person there might not hear better with their hats off.

One by one, they each put their hat on a table at the back of the hall. By the end of the talk, they were all really surprised to discover how much more they had learned than they originally expected.

So what’s this story really all about?

How does it impact on your family life?

What’s the underlying message it’s trying to convey?

How can you leave your hat at the back of the hall when your children, partner, mother- in – law, boss or teenager is talking to you?

How can you be more open to really listening without judgement or pre conceived ideas?

What would that give you?

How would that benefit your family or your life?

How can you show more respect to another person’s point of view without challenging, criticising or arguing and just be more accepting of their right to hold that different opinion?

If you popped a piece of paper down on the floor with “detached observer” on it and stood on it for a few minutes what would you see, or what would you hear and how would you feel?

What if you did this with your child’s name on it, your partner’s or your bosses?

How can you make a small change today that will make a big difference to the communication in your family this week?

If you have enjoyed today’s Wednesday Story – feel free to pass it on


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