My mom passed along this tidbit the other day, and I'm finding multiple practical applications for it. It's the phrase, "Just go with it."
I'm a little uncertain as to all the details, but I believe a caretaker was giving advice to someone on how to interact with elderly senile people. If Old Jonathan believes he sees his Great Aunt Bertha in the room, don't try to convince Old Jonathan that he is seeing things. Just go with it.
I don't think this means to pretend to carry on a conversation and serve tea to Great Aunt Bertha, but simply don't try to convince Old Jonathan otherwise. His mental faculties are on their way out.
The application of this with children seems quite obvious to me. Of course, I don't argue with my four-year-old that he's not a cat, or with my eight-year-old that going to bed early is the best thing for her, or with my ten-year-old that his pain will really and truly be over quite soon. Their mental faculties are not developed yet.
But what about with adults? We all, to a degree, are out of touch with reality. We don't entirely understand one another's feelings or hopes or views. We don't entirely understand the news or the weather or the economic goings on. We are fudging it mostly.
For example, I have told people of events happening in my life that I don't find particularly pleasant, to which my audience replies, "How wonderful that must be for you!" I'm flustered and surprised. Oh, they don't understand my views on this subject. Shall I correct them? How can I possibly explain my attitude? Will they even understand? Do they even care?
Usually at this point, the person gives a hint as to whether they really care to know my thoughts or are merely responding generically. It is the generic responder that I find the most tricky. I cannot knowingly agree with their reaction. It goes against my policies of honesty. But I don't feel an explanation is appropriate either.
Engage Operation Just-Go-With-It.
I've just learned that if they were in my shoes, they would've enjoyed this supposedly unpleasant event. I'm all the wiser now. I might ask, "How do you figure?" or "How might you enjoy this event, if you were to go?" or even, "I hope to enjoy it more next time."
Of course, I can only do this so long as I'm not expecting my listeners to understand me or validate me as if they were my bosom companion or God himself. I must accept others as merely human with a very limited knowledge.
Here's another example: I have been in conversation with a friend when they've voiced opinions to which I don't agree: views of God that don't seem right or assessments of themselves that don't match my observations or foreboding predictions about the future that seem far more hopeless than reality.
Again, I must discern whether they are asking me for my opinion or if they are merely voicing their own views or fears, and this is rather hard to do if my views feel threatened or I feel that I must confess that I totally disagree in order to adhere to my inner code of honesty—drat that inward code!
Engage Operation Just-Go-With-It
I have just learned some interesting opinions from my friend. I'm all the more acquainted with this person now. I might say, "There you go," or "How do you figure?" or "Tell me more about that."
Or course, I can only do this so long as I don't expect my friends to know all my views in order to like me. I also can't expect my friends to ask me for my own opinions even after they've offered their own. Not every conversation is an equal transaction, and so long as I'm banking with the Lord, I don't have to worry about no one listening to all my opinions—some of which are probably wrong too.
I guess God sometimes just goes with it too.