I am scheduled to cook a community meal this weekend. I am planning a decadent five cheese sausage and beef lasagna with a gorgeous, bountiful salad.
I know, right?
Well, I was planning that until the part where the community started to place orders like I am a flippin’ short order cook at Denny’s.
“It can’t be beef.”
“It can only be organic beef.”
“I can’t have gluten.”
“I can’t have dairy.”
“I can’t have gluten or dairy. Or meat. Or soy. Or certain kinds of onions.”
I get it folks. I really do. My people all die from food – I know it is smart to be smart – but, when someone else is cooking, just say thanks and bring some pocket tofu for the salad. Even Buddha, who was a vegetarian because he believed in non-violence, would graciously ate meat when it was prepared.
My husband/editor eats an exclusive diet of gluten, dairy, and red meat.
I know, right?
But he has never been accommodated at a community meal. I know you are probably thinking the community should not exactly rally around Mr. Heart-Attack-Pants, but he is happy, fit, and smoking hot with better-than-average cholesterol and blood pressure wellness. Who are we to judge?
The point is, he has never has asked to have everyone change to make sure he got what he needed. He simply changed what he needed to accommodate the situation. Perhaps he only focused on good company and later ate at home.
Trying to change the world to accommodate you doesn’t really work. Changing your perspective does.
Parents do this all the time, working to control every piece of a child’s environment. Look, I understand wanting to keep your kids safe. But what happens when you’re apart? Can your kids handle that? Do you worry? Consider an alternative to changing the world: make your child strong and flexible so you can rest easy knowing they can confidently handle just about anything life throws at them.
If you want to keep your kids from drowning, don’t work to ban all open water from the earth. Instead, teach them to swim.
If street noise bothers you, don’t run around asking people to use their inside voices when they’re outside – close your flippin’ window.
If parents let their kids climb high structures without hovering, don’t lobby for the mass destruction of all things climby and fun. Be OK with it or look away.
If a parent dresses too provocatively for your taste at school, don’t start a petition to mandate parent uniforms. Learn to lighten up and be OK with it.
Note: My husband and I have never dressed too provocatively at school. Well, there was the Jessica Rabbit costume fiasco at the kids’ Easter party. That was maybe a bit borderline provocative. What was he thinking?
I am obviously not talking about stopping work to improve the quality of our planet and its inhabitants. I am talking about accepting what you see for exactly what it is and learning to walk through the world taking care of yourself and teaching your kids to do the same.
Of course, if you really want the world to be a better place, take a cue from my friend Josh. He is the CEO of Earth2. The company’s motto is “Change the World Before Bedtime.” And he works to do just that – but more importantly, he changes people’s lives every day as he leaves everyone feeling more positive, joyful, energized, and as if they have just enjoyed the best hug of their lives. It is amazing, but there is no doubt Josh changes the world before bedtime everyday because of who he is.
Don’t change the world, change yourself.