I learned something when I babysat my two granddaughters the other day. They didn’t sit me down and offer a lecture. It was an observation I made when I played with them. Two-year-old Briannah sleeps in a crib. It has a door that opens and both girls like to climb inside of it. At first we made it a fort with a blanket on top, then we played peek a boo. The girls enjoyed this game, but it loses its luster after a while. At least for me.
The game switched to pretending the girls were animals in a cage. At first they growled and roared. I would sneak up to the cage and when they roared I would act frightened and run away. They both laughed uproariously at this. The game didn’t vary much from this basic scenario, but they were having so much fun that I kept it up longer than I normally would have done.
A few minutes into the game, Rosannah, who is 3 ½ years old, wanted to be a nice puppy. I would pat her on the head and she smiled. Briannah, however, who is usually the more passive of the two, continued to roar. This was a source of clout for her and she wasn’t ready to give it up.
I can’t blame Briannah. It isn’t often that a two-year-old can have this much “power” over an adult. Toddlers have to eat what we give them, sleep when we put them down for a nap (ideally anyway) go for rides in the car when the situation dictate and wear what we pick out for them. Of course this is for their safety and well being.
We have more choices as we grow older, but a lot of the scenario is very much the same. We work for companies that dictate the hours, the work, the pay and the location. With the crummy economy very few are comfortable doing anything more than doing as they are told and keep any complaints, comments or even suggestions to a minimum. In time, a lot of us feel a loss of power.
I’m not advocating growling at your boss , coworkers, family or friends, but the repressiveness of constantly stuffing your feelings, creativity and spirit can be damaging. In time, many of us could lose our “voice” or the thunderous roar of our imagination and spirit.
I know because I have worked and been in relationships where I felt my opinions and ideas were unappreciated, discouraged and even ridiculed. Years ago I talked to an intuitive who told me my throat chakra was blocked. As a writer and a public speaker, I knew this was something I needed to change. I was so worried about upsetting others that I became someone different than who I am – someone who cares enough to shed light on an unhappy world. Not only was I not shedding light, my own internal enlightenment felt like I was using a dimmer switch toward the off position.
At some point in our lives we worry more about pleasing others than doing the right thing. I saw that in Rosannah when she switched from a lion to a nice puppy. Of course I don’t advocate we became nasty little grippers who complain, vetch and moan. I believe in reducing the pessimism in our lives and even co-wrote the self-improvement book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. But I don’t want folks to think I mean we should be a herd of sheep that do what others expect and do not have the courage to speak up when the situation calls for it.
Of course using diplomacy and trying to engage others in dialogue is a preferred method of communication, but sometimes we just need to stand up and roar. This could be to our congressman, bullies, bosses, spouses, or those who are trying to hurt us or others.
It reminds me of the lyrics from Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman.
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
'cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again ”
You don’t have to believe me – or even Helen Reddy. Ask Briannah or any other toddler you know. Our voices are powerful instruments. Make the best use of it. ROAR!!!