I think, I was 17, the first time I said I did not want to have children. Now I am 42 and still do not want to have children. But it is only in the last 5 years that people stopped telling me, that I will change my mind, when I get older. And I find it interesting, that it seems to be acceptable to some people to question my choice, often without asking why, just because it is out of the norm.
I do not think, there is any other statement as a young woman not wanting to have children, where a person will find themself permitted or even obligated to patronise the statement so easily. Or at least I hope not. When I was young, I got angry, later I learned to ignore it. But it taught me a valuable learning: Never to neglect someone’s statements, even if I think I know better. Because I do not. I do not know the reason behind other people’s choices. I can guess, I can assume, I can believe – all of these things I can do. It will probably still not be correct.
So, what options will I have in that situation?
I can accept the statement, or I can ask why.
And some comments on when you ask why – especially when you disagree or think you know better:
- No one is obligated to tell you why
- Listen to their why, with an open mind, putting aside your assumptions, beliefs and guesses.
- Do practice active listening. Active listening means, that you are silencing yourself, that little voice you have in your head, that wants to speak, is commenting constantly and feeding you arguments. Get it to be still and focus on just listening.
This is also what I do with my coachees, because their values will not always be the same as mine. And my role as a coach, is to help them find their way to connect their values with their way of living. It is not to know their answers or to patronise them about their values.