Have you read the book Aspire; Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power Of Words, by Kevin Hall? It’s a MUST read. It was life changing book for me. Chapter one divulges a word I had never heard before, Kevin calls it the “Secret Word” which upon hearing it became my new favorite word! What’s the word? Hold on, I will tell you in a minute!
Each chapter focuses on a new word and Kevin shares stories of inspiring men and women who exemplify that word. One of my favorite stories was about Dr. Viktor Frankl, a man who “survived the horrors and inhumanity of the Nazi concentration camps as prisoner Number 119,104.” Viktor wrote a book in nine days following his ordeal, entitled “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In his book he writes: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms-to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor chose to be a VICTOR not a Victim!
I was inspired by Viktor to be more conscious of “My Attitude” – how I react in any given situation.
Okay, now to my new FAVORITE word, the Word that has made me more conscience of the words I use and how I treat others is…………drum roll…………. “GENSHAI” which means “Never treat another person in a manner that would make them feel small……and that includes YOURSELF!” Why did this hit me so hard? I had heard it my whole life, just worded differently. My mother drilled “Do unto others as you want them to do unto you” “Love one another” “Be kind to everyone” but for some reason “in a manner that would make them FEEL small” sunk deep.
I posted the word Genshai and its meaning on a sticky note on my bathroom mirror. It’s a reminder to choose my words wisely. Being kind to strangers and friends is comes naturally, but for some reason I can get inpatient with those I love the most…my family. How could that be possible? ….too often having a clean house, tidy bedrooms, over shadows the fact that my kids are doing good things…..they aren’t out doing drugs and alcohol or sleeping around. How did “pick up after yourself” become more important than “I walked away from a potentially bad situation today”?
Back in the day when I had five teens living at home at the same time, I could get a little crazy trying to keep some kind of order in my home. I was constantly nagging someone to clean their room, clean their bathroom, get out of bed, get their chores done, etc… Mornings were the worst. My boys did high school sports and were usually up and gone to practice before the girls were even awake. That left THREE teenage, tired, moody girls fighting over the bathroom and who was wearing what of theirs without asking was a normal occurrence. The good thing is that usually by the time they came home from school they were best friends. If I were to go back and do it all again, I would have closed their bedroom doors more often so that I couldn’t see their mess….ignored the over flowing garbage can in their bathroom AND would have hugged and praised them more for the Good things they were doing and the bad things they were NOT doing.
Okay I’ve gotten a little side tracked. Here’s a couple of examples of how taking to heart the word Genshai helped me become a more patient mom: My youngest boy Skye is usually an early riser during the school year….he jumps out of bed and goes through the morning routine before catching the bus for school without any nagging or “coaching” (that’s a nicer sounding word) from me. One morning he was just not getting out of bed. I knew he had gotten to bed late and was now paying the price. THE OLD ME would have said, “GET OUT OF BED! I’m sorry you chose to go to bed late. NOW GET UP! If you MISS the bus you will have to WALK to school!” Those were words that came out of my mouth on occasion when I had the 4-5 teens living at home….and several times they WALKED the two miles to school…one time on cold snowy winter. Lesson learned, but “Bad Mom Award”. But on this morning, the word Genshai was at the forefront and I said, “Skye, would you like to sleep longer and I will drive you to school?” He sat up a bit and looked at me strangely then thanked me and laid back down. To him those words meant he could sleep another half hour….and thats a big deal to a teen. As I walked away from his room I felt REALLY good, unlike the raunchy grouchy feeling I would feel after I yelled at my child and punished them for something so trivial.
Another morning I opened Skye’s door and said “Get up Skye, Today is going to be the BEST day of your Life and YOU don’t want to miss a single second of it” He sat up, again looked at me funny, and said “Why?” I answered,” Because YOU are going to be a part of it! You are going to walk down the halls and smile at people you have never smiled at before….you are going to say “Hi” to people you have never said hi to before and YOU are going to make them feel good about themselves and in return you will feel better about yourself. AND when you crawl back into bed tonight you are going to say “Today was a Great Day!” He just smiled and had the look of “you are weird mom” on his face. A half hour later as I was driving my daughter Myley to school…wait…DRIVING?….Yes, because she attends a HS that is not in our boundaries, therefore no bus to ride:( As I was pulling up to the front of the school I said, “Myley today is going to be the BEST day of your life!” She turned to me and said, “I know! I heard you telling Skye this morning” We laughed as she got out of the car and I said “enJOY the Best day of your life!” YEP! it was a lot nicer feeling parting ways that morning! Lesson Learned…..Be NICE! “Good Mom Award”
Is my life all a bed of roses now that I have digested the MEANING of the word GENSHAI?….NO, LIFE HAPPENS and I still have to make a conscious decision of how I will respond……it’s up to ME and no one else….I choose my attitude! I’m really making an effort to NEVER make another person feel SMALL, and that decision has made me a HaPpIeR person!