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Who Gets To Decide?

Who Gets To Decide?

Hello and good day!

A little boy rifled around in his room.

He was searching for something new to play and experiment with.

He got down flat on his belly to look underneath his bed, but he didn't find anything novel under there.

He pulled a stepladder from across the room and leaned it against the interior wall of the closet that he shared with his older brother.

Clothes were hanging on hangers and the hangers hooked over a wooden rod that spanned the closet.

The boy climbed to the top rung of his 5-rung stepladder.

He used one hand to grab the trim that lined the outside framing of the closet.

 While hanging backward, he used his other hand to search through the pockets of pants, jackets, and button-up shirts that were hanging from the wooden rod.

There was nothing interesting in the pockets.

He climbed down and began to open every drawer in the chest of drawers where his mother kept off season clothing, underwear, and socks.

There wasn't anything worthwhile in the lower set of drawers, which he could easily reach and scavenge without the aid of his stepladder.

He wasn't able to see or reach into the back recesses of the upper row of drawers, where his mother put away balled up or folded socks and underwear.

He leaned his stepladder against the middle of the white dresser and climbed up to the third rung.

He began to pull open and search through every drawer that he could reach into.

In the back corner of his brother's underwear drawer, he found something hard and metallic with a curved metal tube on top and what felt like a key sticking out from the bottom.

He pulled it out and held it up like a trophy while still standing on his ladder.

It was something new!

He climbed down his stepladder and began to rotate the new mystery item in his hands, feeling the ridges of the thick square body and the smooth hard roundness of the curved tubing.

Then he turned the key that was sticking out from the bottom, and the curved tube opened with a click.n One side of the tube lifted and pulled out of a hole and then swiveled downwards.

The little boy ran down the stairs from his room to the living room.

"Mommy! Mommy! Look what I found!" he yelled out.

"Let me see what you've got there," said the mother.

She squatted down so that she was at eye level with her youngest son.

"Honey, this is a lock. Where did you find it?"

"It was in one of the drawers. Can I have it?"

"Of course you can. You found it fair and square."

While the mother and the little boy were talking, the boy's older brother eavesdropped on the conversation.

He came stomping up from the downstairs playroom, determined to spoil his little brother's good time, and feeling unapologetically happy about the opportunity.

"You can't have that. That is my lock. I bought that with my own money," said the older brother.

The little boy was immediately crestfallen.

His enthusiasm evaporated. His tiny forehead crumpled with sadness and worry.

He looked to his mother for help.

''Mommy? Is that true? Do I have to give it back?" he asked.

The boy stuck out his wet pink bottom lip.

He was ready to cry in an instant, depending on his mother's response.

The mother turned her eyebrows down towards the bridge of her nose and looked at her older son with penetrating suspicion.

"Where was the lock?" she asked.

The older brother was a quick thinker and without missing a beat he said, "in my room of course." He smiled his most casual and charming smile.

"Where in your room!" boomed the mother.

She hated when her children weren't completely honest and tried to mask their deception by being coy.

"In my backpack?" said the boy, guessing.

"You don't know where it was. Admit it!" insisted the mother.

"Ok mommy. I don't know where it was."

"Thank you for being honest. You know the rules in this house."

The law of the house stated that any item not properly cared for, lost, or forgotten was forfeit.

The mother created the law in response to the never-ending mess of strewn toys that she found herself enduring.

She and her husband agreed that any items left on the floor at day's end would immediately go into the recycling bin, and any items found in an unexpected place would be subject to a single question.

Where did you leave it?

The rationale behind the question was that if a person truly cared about something, they'd know where they left it.

Or they'd be actively looking for it.

If a child couldn't say where they'd left the thing, it was no longer theirs.

The little boy smiled his biggest smile and hugged his mother's leg.

"Thank you mommy!" he cooed.

The older brother shrugged and went back downstairs.

He didn't care about the lock anyhow. He only wanted to ruffle his little brother's feathers.

Also, mommy was the boss.

Her word was the law, and the older brother took comfort in the arrangement.

He didn't want to rail against it.

Here is what made me come up with this little story.

It is nice to know that somebody is in charge of making the final decision.

I think that it is healthy to accept this arrangement when it exists if the decision maker is a good and fair person.

Even if you don't agree with the decision, I think that it is usually good to submit to the structure when it is in place.

Unless of course you are dealing with very grave consequences.

But that is rarely the situation.

Looking back on my life, the nastiest and ugliest fights I've been in have come when nobody in the dispute was an accepted authority.

Nobody had decision making power.

Therefore, things escalated more and more as either side tried harder and harder to weaken their adversary.

It has also gone badly for me when I've been outvoted and refused to accept the result.

Our company has three business owners.

A two thirds vote is supposed to carry the day when there are disagreements.

When I've tried to ignore a democratic decision, it always gets ugly.

A person who knows they are fighting a losing battle tends to employ desperate measures.

Anyhow, I think that one of the best ways to avoid bad conflicts is to decide in advance who gets to make the final decision and then humbly respect the process.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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