One Coin. Two Sides.

Do you ever find yourself wishing your husband or your kids were different — that they had different personality traits or characteristics?

Just yesterday I was thinking how I wished my husband would notice more of what I do. He was working from home and privy to things he doesn’t normally see. I wanted him to gush over the rhythm and beauty of our home because I think it’s something special.

In my mind his praise would sound something like this: “Wow, Tiffany. You are such a great mother. I see you reading the scriptures with Locke one second and vacuuming the next. Then you flow from helping Croft with math to folding clothes to teaching Crew about WWI. And somehow amongst it all you managed to get the oil changed on the car. I am so lucky to have you running our household.”

In his defense, he did thank me for getting the oil changed, but he didn’t seem to be that impressed with the clean house and the educated kids.

As I found myself wishing for more gold stars, I realized that Chad’s observation skills are just a coin with two sides. On one hand he doesn’t acknowledge all that I do, but on the flip side he doesn’t see my deficiencies either.

He doesn’t complain about dinner if it’s not great, and he doesn’t make me feel guilty if I don’t get anything made for dinner at all. If he walks in from work and the house is a disaster he doesn’t say a word. I can be in pajamas with no make-up on at 5:00 pm and I’m still greeted with a kiss and a hug – no judgement. I could lay in bed all day and he would just come in and check on me every once in awhile and see if I needed anything. He wouldn’t make me feel bad for having a down day.

In my wishing for a different response from my husband, I realized I can’t have it both ways. Either I accept the whole coin – both sides – or I don’t. So in the end he keeps quiet with the praise, but he also keeps quiet with his judgement. I am not good or bad to him. I am just me.

The one coin truth goes for our children as well. And it would be wise for me to understand the coin theory as I raise them.

pennies

I can’t be grateful that Elle remembers to text the carpool when she doesn’t need a ride, but be bugged when she is upset about being five minutes late. I can’t expect her to be on the ball with her dance schedule and church assignments and homework, but expect her to be chill when it comes to siblings and dance competitions and projects. Heads she’s conscientious. Tails she’s uptight.

I can’t love Crew’s impersonations and jokes and witty comebacks, but then cringe when he spouts off something mildly inappropriate in church that has everyone laughing. I can’t appreciate how he turns everything into a game and makes our life fun and then be frustrated when he invents a game with his younger siblings when he should be working. Playfulness is one coin with two sides.

I can’t appreciate Croft’s creativity and then be embarrassed by her outfit of choice. I can’t hate her stubbornness and defiance of my authority, but love it with an unfair professor or a jerky boyfriend. She either takes you on or she doesn’t. You take the whole coin, not one side.

I can’t love that Locke honors his bedtime to a tee, but be frustrated when he is inflexible about me changing the dinner menu. I can’t be grateful that he loves to do his chores, but hates when I do them for him. (There was a 15 minutes tantrum this week because I unloaded HIS dishwasher.) His OCD coin blesses our home and burdens it.

And the same realization goes for myself. I need to embrace all my negative traits because they also have a good side. And I need to be humble about my awesome traits because they can be a weakness as well.

All of our personality traits or characteristics are one coin with two sides. The coin can be used for good or bad depending on which side is up. It can be an awesome blessing or a frustrating habit.

The moral of the story is to take the good with the bad. Because, remember, if you had to trade in the bad side, the good side would have to go too. So love the whole spouse, the whole child and the whole you, not just the pretty shiny side of the coin.

8 Comments
  1. I don’t even remember how I came across your blog, but you are so wise! this is just what I needed to remember and think about today. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I had a very similar realization a few years ago, and since then I have been struck by this principle over and over again. I wish I could claim that it’s totally changed how I deal with people and that I’m more charitable and kind now…but I’m not. I still struggle with this, in myself and in others, but I’m working toward being better. And this is a great reminder, so thank you so much for sharing with us.

    1. I hear you, AnnMarie. Often things are easier to grasp in theory than they are in practice. The coin theory could help us show more compassion to ourselves and others, but it does take practice.

  3. I read this last week and totally used the principle this weekend. My son had a big swim meet and ended up doing really well in one particular race. I was expecting the coach to be over the moon and jumping for joy – but he was just his usual “good race” along with a fist bump. But then I remembered that the thing I love most about this coach is how calm and low key he is. When a race goes badly he is not angry or loud or demeaning. Always kind, always encouraging and always even keeled. Both sides of the same coin….

  4. I’ve been thinking about this principle a lot since I read this post a few weeks ago. Thanks for sharing.