By: Dr. Summer Beattie | I love it when I get feedback on an article I’ve written – good and bad… Just something to let me know you all are actually reading what I’m typing. So to say “thank you” to one of our readers, this month I’m going to share a story that was told to me by someone who enjoyed the article from the July issue, “Home – Where Your Story Begins…” She said she loved it because it made her think about how differently each home functions, each story happening within its walls shaping our own version of normal. She told me how this article brought up a childhood memory for her that I can in turn share with you.
As a little girl, she knew that other families had lived in her home before she and her family, and it only seemed logical that the house must have ghosts that still shared the residence. In her young mind, it made perfect sense that during the day, she and her family were free to fully occupy the home, and during the night, when everyone was asleep in their beds, the lights out and completely dark, it was the ghosts turn to come out and use the house for their own. This wasn’t a frightful idea to her, but it did pose a bit of a problem when she woke in the middle of the night and would need to use the restroom. She was old enough that she wanted some privacy when using the bathroom, and so she was concerned that if she turned the light on, the ghosts would be able to see her using the toilet. So she decided that if she should have to use the restroom at night, she would leave the lights all off.
This of course led to another issue for other members of the family, because when they would get up to use the restroom themselves, they would assume the bathroom was unoccupied (because no lights were on) and would often walk in to find her already using the toilet. While a bit funny in and of itself, the beautiful part of this story is that when she explained her reasoning, no one in her family tried to correct her, make fun of her, or convince her she had to turn a light on when using the dark, dark bathroom. They simply accepted. In her family it became normal to never turn a light on when using the bathroom at night.
I love it! How often do we accept the idiosyncrasies of our family members simply because “if it matters to them, it is important enough to matter to us – even when it doesn’t make sense or can’t possibly be right? How often does their peculiarity become our new normal? I find that my natural inclination is to argue that my habit or way of doing things is a better way. It is a stretching of my instinct to let my daughter do things her way if it is different from my own. From the way she wants to wear her hair and clothes to the way she wants to put something together, I have to stop myself from saying, “that’s not how it goes.” Truth is there are lots of “right” ways to do many things – not wrong, just different; and we all might just learn something new while reinforcing a positive relationship if we can embrace another’s “normal” at home, school or work.
Dr. Summer Beattie, ND is a graduate of Bastyr University. She has over 8 years experience as a Naturopathic Doctor specializing in women’s health with an emphasis on environmental medicine. Having served two terms on the board of directors for the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians, she has also worked in the medical aesthetics field since 2008. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or