“Will you cut an apple for JT, please?” I asked my husband when my son was only four years old. Don stared at me and asked how. I rolled my eyes and said, “You know how to cut an apple. Just do it.”
A few minutes later Don returned with the apple. He had cut it once down the middle. At this point I became highly irritated. “The seeds are still in it. He can’t eat it that way.”
Everyone knows how to cut an apple. You quarter it first.
Then cut out the core and seeds.
Well, that’s what I thought at the time. However, since then I’ve observed others (mostly moms) cutting apples and found out . . . I was wrong! You can cut an apple several ways!
You can use an apple corer slicer to cut an apple.
You can cut the apple four times around the core.
I even know people who cut and eat the apple one bite at a time.
My point? Sometimes “my way” isn’t the only way, nor is it always the best way.
There is a general thought “out there” that disagreements are bad and should be avoided. Therefore, if you and I are discussing child rearing and disagree on the method, one of us must be wrong. This perception is inaccurate. Just like there is more than one way to cut an apple, there is more than one way to rear children.
More often than not, in our discussions and decision-making, we are not choosing between a right option and a wrong one (like should we commit adultery or not). Instead we are trying to find the best choice or option for the situation. For example, Kenneth learns best by listening, so I read to him a lot; whereas Melinda learns best by seeing, so she reads the material herself. In general, neither method is better. However, there is a “better” method depending on the child.
What I learned from my apple-cutting incident is that I should not judge another person based on his/her apple-cutting methods. Nor should I assume there is only one apple-cutting way. I should listen to others and observe their apple-cutting abilities before I jump in with my own superior tone on how to cut an apple. (I may learn something!) Above all else, I should value the relationship with the other person over having my own way—even if he/she is cutting the apple wrong. Because, really, in the end, does it matter how the apple is cut?