By: Jill Pertler
One of the most challenging aspects of living with teenagers is confronting their vast and superior knowledge. Every parent who’s been there understands a teen’s life experiences have brought them to the point of knowing almost everything – or maybe there’s no almost about it.
I’m okay with my kids thinking they are right – as long as they keep their opinions to themselves. When they share their ideas and try to exert them on others (most specifically me), there’s where the dilemma comes in.
My teens believe they are right. That’s their right.
Unfortunately, their “right” is often in direct opposition to my own (wise and learned) point of view. I also believe I am right, and we all are aware two rights do not make a left. (It takes three rights to do that; go ahead try this little experiment yourself.)
Which is exactly what my household experienced the other night when my husband and son ganged up on me – three rights. This was a rare occurrence, because usually my husband is as learned and wise as any old owl. On this occasion, however, he didn’t give a hoot about the logic of my reasonable opinion.
I should have known better than to engage them in discourse on the rights and wrongs of any given topic. I avoid doing so with the men in my family. They are competitive and hate losing. To compound matters, my son is left-handed. Never argue with a lefty about being right.
So the three of us stood at a standstill. They were right and I was right. We probably should have done the three rights thing, made a turn in the opposite direction and left the situation alone. Maybe went for ice cream and called it a day.
It’s hard to leave things alone, though, when you think you are right. Am I right?
I forget what we were squabbling about, but their claim of correctness was okay with me. “Let them be right” is one of my lesser-publicized mottos. My impediment came when they attempted to find fault with my own rightness. They accused me of thinking I am always right. Like there’s something wrong with that.
Of course I always think I’m right. It would be illogical, unintelligent and inappropriate not to. I haven’t met anyone who sets out to find an opinion they believe to be wrong. What would it say about my sense of self-respect and self-esteem if I didn’t think enough of myself to choose to believe I was right?
We all think we are right. It’s the nature of things.
My husband and son furrowed their brows at my admission. Was it an admission or declaration? I could almost see their brains churning. Because they weren’t sure, they couldn’t be certain whether they were winning the argument.
If there’s anything more important than being right, it’s winning an argument. Or maybe not. What did I have to gain by pursuing this one any further? My guys weren’t on the threshold of giving up, and I had stuff to do – like pet the cat and watch the weather channel.
I ended my filibuster by offering one last tidbit of logical information regarding the importance of semantics: Believing you are right and being right are two different things. I always believe I am right. But I never know for sure. I could be wrong. We all could be.
Their jaws dropped at my disclosure. I grabbed the cat and the remote, and left it at that.
Read last week’s column “Riding the grief train “
Jill Pertler, award-winning syndicated columnist and author of “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication.” is collecting fans on Facebook on her Slices of Life page. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit her website at http://marketing-by-design.home.mchsi.com/. <http://marketing-by-design.home.mchsi.com/>