Knock knock. Who’s there? Banana. Knock knock. Who’s there? Banana. Knock knock? Who’s there? Orange. Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?
Kids love knock knock jokes. They can teach us something, too. How often do we hear the knock on the door and expect people to be different than they usually are?
I was talking to one of my daughters about her friend – I’ll call him Chuck – who is always late. My daughter says that she makes plans with Chuck for 7 o’clock and he shows up at 8. He says he’s sorry and then can’t understand why my daughter gets so upset. She said that when she has tried to explain to him that he’s not being considerate – and she would never do that to him – and he listens and nods and yet…he does the same thing all over again.
She’s waiting for Chuck to act like Bill or Annie or Louise. In other words, she doesn’t want Chuck to act like Chuck. She gets upset because she said, “I keep telling him that it’s wrong and he doesn’t change.”
“We can’t expect other people to change just because we want them to,” I said.
All we can do is take care of ourselves. We can remember that we have options. We can make a plan with Chuck, let’s say, for 7 o’clock and then decided that if he doesn’t show up by 7:15, we can leave and do something else. We can have a Plan A – Chuck – and a Plan B – Bill, Annie or Louise or whoever we want. We can have a back-up plan. We can take care of ourselves by not expecting a banana to be an orange.
One way to make the next chapter of our lives even better is by only looking to change ourselves — which is tough enough, as I talked about in “I’m the Kind of Person Who…” Once we remember that, then we can make plans and not get upset if they fall through. We can make sure we have fun with or without the other person. Relationships get easier and less tense because we’re not trying so hard.