I remember being called into the living room for regular family meetings as a kid. They were times that my parents would talk to us about certain life lessons, usually my Dad would do the talking but they would have agreed on the topic together. I remember vividly a particular meeting discussing the topic of jealousy.
There are 5 children in my family. I am the second youngest. At the time of this meeting I was going to Byron Bay Public School and was 7 years old. I was consumed at that time with jealousy of how long and blonde the most popular girl in schools hair was. I had also decided that it wasn’t cool enough to be dropped off at school in a Nimbus. Why couldn’t my family just be cooler and drive us to school in a red convertible or a Tranzam like our Auntie had?
My parents and 4 siblings all gathered into the living room. “Thank you for being here. Today we are going to be talking about jealousy. Who can tell me what jealousy is? ” Dad asked. We answered. “Who here has ever felt jealous?” My mind jumped immediately to an image of this girls long blonde hair and how desperately I wanted that hair too, because surely that was why she was so beautiful and popular? All five of us kids and my parents all admitted that we had felt jealousy and Dad continued on.
“Good. If you find yourself wishing for something that somebody else has, you can decide to be happy for them instead of jealous. Sound like a good idea?” We answer softly. “Yes.” And the pedestal image in my mind of the beautiful girl from my grade 1 class softened. I was happy for her instead and instantly the jealousy dissipated.
“And if you wish to have this thing too be it a sporting ability, a body type, a pair of jeans, anything… then you can consider learning from the person who has it. Who better to learn from than somebody who already has something that you want?” He added.
“If you find yourself wishing you had a nicer car to be dropped off at school in, then work on getting your own red convertible when you can drive”. He smiled. And so did we… I really liked the idea of driving my friends around in a red convertible!
“Can we all do this?” He finished. “Yes Dad.” And for me that was it, that was pretty much the end of jealousy as I knew it. I have since never been a jealous sister, daughter, friend, girlfriend, dancer or co-worker. I know what jealousy feels like. But it plays no role in my life story now. I chose love and happiness.
Sometimes lessons learned are really learned. Sometimes instantaneously and sometimes over long periods of time. Said in the right time, in the right place lessons will be learned. For me this was one of those lessons.
Thank you Dad.