This I Believe

Vicki - haiku, Hawaii
Entered on March 25, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe there’s more than one right way to do things. I believe that each of us has his or her right way. I learned this from my father and my need for independence from him at an early age.

According to Dad, there was only one way to do something his way. I recall this as early as the age of 6, raking leaves in the front yard. Two piles, three piles, six piles; it didn’t matter, as long as I got them all picked up in the end, right? Wrong. There needed to be one pile, no matter how large the yard. Only then would we know the job was done correctly.

I believe there’s Dad’s way, mom’s way, my husband’s way, my friends’ ways. I don’t always agree with these other ways, but they are valid for each of them. But they aren’t my way. My way is the ONLY way for me.

In my early career I had a leased car while in a sales job. I pulled into my father’s driveway to visit and asked if I could wash my car. He agreed and pulled out all necessary car washing tools: the bucket, the soap, the rag and the drying towels. He disappeared into the house. I began to wash the car my way. After a few minutes he came out and loudly exclaimed that I could not possibly wash my car without soap. I assured him I could and was, in fact, doing just that. He voiced his disagreement louder insisting that if I was going to do it, then do it right. I stopped, looked at him and asked what the “right way” was. He insisted that it meant using soap. I shook my head and said that soap was not a required component to my acceptable car wash. We never spoke again about washing cars.

My husband is the chef in our home. He makes spectacular and healthy food that rivals any of the restaurants on Maui. But there’s his way to cook and then my way to cook. I believe that the key to happiness in our home is for us to not try to cook at the same time in the same kitchen. His way is the only way when he is in the kitchen and if I want to be fed, then I have to embrace and honor that. But it isn’t my way.

Honoring how we each do things “our way” is the key to understanding that there are many right ways to get something accomplished. I honor my father for his way and my husband for his many ways. They are all good ways. But clearly my way is just right for me.