Although I am not a Buddhist, one of the tenets of the Eightfold Path, Right Speech, fascinates me; it’s where parenting adolescents smacks into enlightened living…and it’s kicking my a$$.
The foundations of Right Speech include:
- Abstain from false speech; do not tell lies or deceive.
- Do not slander others or speak in a way that causes disharmony or enmity.
- Abstain from rude, impolite or abusive language.
- Do not indulge in idle talk or gossip.
As a society, we are failing miserably at Right Speech, and I’m curious to know why. I wrote a little bit about this in my book, but I’ve had it flung back in my face, lately…over and over. You see, my new dream of starting a Volleyball Club and a Wellness Center that empowers girls has landed me smack dab in the middle of Drama. You would think it was from the girls, but you’d be wrong…it’s mostly parents who keep the drama and nasty chatter bubbling.
I had a conversation about this the other day, and I realized that there was a way to apply Right Speech to the Drama-War; I could just choose not to partake. So, I tried it. There was a mom (actually, I’ve had this conversation with many moms, so this is a representation) who was protesting how unfair someone was being to her kid, and I could tell she wanted me to jump into the Drama pool and agree with her. I didn’t. I validated her pain, “I can see that’s tough for you. It’s always tougher on the parent than on the kid, isn’t it? You know, I’ve found that tough situations make kids tougher, if we can let them figure it out and come out the other side. I know it’s tempting to jump in, but most of the time it doesn’t help. Take that energy and help yourself stay calm. That will help her more!” And then I just sent her love and changed the subject. It was remarkable. She followed my lead out of the drama, and pretty soon we were having a meaningful conversation about stuff that really does matter!
It’s tempting to go down the drama rabbit-hole. It feels exciting to one-up a juicy story. But don’t you just feel a little slimy afterwards…like you need a shower? Staying in drama is not the way to build your Girl Power; it just wastes energy. Drama sucks joy.
Right speech spreads joy.
Choose Right Speech.
When asked to embellish a juicy story, especially if you have new information, choose instead to say, “It’s not my story to tell.” And then change the subject to something funny, weird or heart-warming. Join me in choosing Right Speech over Drama; let’s spread a little joy, channel our inner lioness and make Girl World a kinder, more powerful place!
PS If you and your daughter want a drama free retreat of a lifetime, I’d love to have you join me here.