Monday, October 20, 2008

So, So Much?

Have you noticed that four-year-olds seem to have bigger personalities than their years alive would indicate?

I was chatting with Susie the other day (in case you haven't noticed by now, that's a frequent occurrence) and she told me that when she was dropping Tyler off at preschool he had to go potty... so she accompanied him to the restroom and waited with him while he took care of business. The thing about Tyler is that no matter what the circumstances, he always has something to say, is always chatty and always animated.

So they're chatting away in the bathroom and, as he often does, he declared he loved her, "So, so, so, so, so MUCH!"

She, of course, returned the sentiment.

But then he looked at her ominously, his entire demeanor changing on a dime, and told her, "You know, last night I was really mad at you. And when you tucked me in I only told you I love you so, so much. And I was so mad at you that I almost only said one 'so'."

Susie, wide-eyed and somehow refraining from laughing, said, "Wow. Only one 'so'? Whew. That's pretty serious."

"Yeah," he said, "But I was really mad."

I honestly hurt myself from laughing so hard when she told me about it. He is such a little stinker, that godson of mine. But I have to say, I love his approach. Instead of disliking his mom because he was angry, he just dropped a "so" or two (or three) until he cooled off. Sometimes I wonder if it would serve us all well to simply monitor our use of "so."

I've noticed in this political season that no one is emailing to tell me who they like or express a positive opinion. Instead, I have people either telling me that one is an incompetent terrorist or the other is a hothead serving as the mouthpiece of George Bush. The constant negativity wears me out... I see it hurting friendships and dividing people. Today, it's the election. Next month it may be religion, or your choice of public vs. private school, or whether you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.

I'm just wondering during the last stretch of this election ... and beyond it to other issues that will inevitably cause varied opinions in our daily lives ... if it's possible to stay focused on what we have in common rather than that which divides us.

Because I think fundamentally we all want the best for each other, ourselves and the world at large... we just may believe in going about it in different ways. Call me Pollyanna, but wouldn't it be great if we could follow Tyler's lead? Instead of putting people down and saying how much we hate someone else's beliefs we could leave the hate behind and just say we only agree with each other "so much" instead of "so, so, so, so, so much"? My opinion: there's always a way to find a place of common purpose in the midst of the insanity. 

When I played Anne Frank in the play, The Diary of Anne Frank, the last line I had to say was, "Despite everything, I believe people are really good at heart."

I couldn't agree with her more.

And I think Tyler would agree with her, too. Even if he's only feeling one "so" from time to time, this little gesture from Ty to his mom shows that the love in his equation will always remain:

IMG_1448 bw

As long as we all keep love in the equation I think we'll be fine, too.


  1. I think you're right. So call me whatever Pollyanna's sidekick is called. I thought you were going to bash the overuse of words like 'so' and 'love', but you weren't being cynical, you were being positive!

    See how I admitted my own negative outlook? You are so right. I once had someone insult me by telling me I was too positive. I think he would like me so, so, so, so, so much more now. Because I have a great need of more positive thinking.

    You done good, Pollyanna.

  2. @Anita... I know, being too positive can get borderline annoying to people, but I think it's more about giving people the benefit of the doubt and using common sense about being respectful.

    You know, the kind of stuff we learn in kindergarten but forget as adults... :)

  3. I like Pollyannas - they are much easier to be around. Gloomy Gus' tend to exhuast me. I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your "Stepping Stone" analogy. It fit perfectly with a lesson in our women's meeting at church. Thank you Sara, for being a Pollyanna!

    I'm certainly not as gifted (or as diciplined) as you are, but please feel free to head on over to my blog...

  4. Sara, I just passed on your "stepping stones" to someone who really needed somes solid footing. Why don't you paint up a bunch of canvases with "the phrase" on them. I would buy one, and I KNOW that all of your readers would buy one. I even know of a place in Florida that I'm sure would buy them from you and sell them at their gift shop. Or you could open up an Etsy store online! Next thing you know, Oprah would be calling to have you on here show!! (I'm really not trying to plug Oprah, cause I can't remember when I last watched her show - must have been years ago.) ANYHOO - if you decide to paint some, let me know, as I will be your first buyer!!!

  5. We could use a few more Pollyannas in this world! Part of my own personal struggle is having been raised with a negative outlook on all things... and I have to fight against those inclinations daily. I think I first heard the phrase "There but by the grace of god go I" at the psych. hospital I worked at and that has stayed with me... when you truly begin to see how we are all so much more alike than different ... and yes, "keep love in the equation" we will all be better for it.

  6. I'd rather be (and be around) a Pollyanna than a Puddleglum!

  7. I agree wholeheartedly. And I adore this story about Tyler. He was onto something there. :)