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Should We Listen To “Shoulds”?

Here’s a situation when I wondered what I “should” do.

A few months ago, I heard through the grapevine that my friend, Jennie was having twins. The word was that there were two little boys in her belly so I headed to the wool store and bought green, blue and white wool. The next day, I started crocheting the first of two blankets for these little bundles of joy.

Two weeks ago and one and a half blankets later, Chris and I learned that Jennie was having twin girls. Chris nonchalantly asked me why I was making green and blue blankets for girls. Grr.

I had to make a quick decision. Do I knit two new “girl” blankets or do I dare give green and blue blankets to a woman, who is over-the-top excited about the soon-to-be-arrival of her daughters?

As you can see below, Monika is “modelling” two finished baby blankets. In a couple of days, I’ll be going to Jennie’s house to help out and I’ll be giving her these “boy” blankets as a gift.

It was Jennie who helped me make this big decision. When I told her about the blankets, her first response was, “Oh, that’s perfect! The baby room is going to be the same green as the blankets so bring it on!” Thanks, Jennie for the freedom to think differently.

There are times that we get ideas stuck in our head about how things “should” be.  Baby boy stuff should be blue and baby girl stuff should be pink, right?

Not so fast.

I find it amazing how many times in a conversation, people use the word, “should.” My observation is that it’s a word that is often used to manipulate people. “Shoulds” are used in conversation to make people feel like there’s a clear right and wrong about every situation…but there’s not.  When “shoulds” accumulate, control is often the goal and people get confused and hurt.

Here are some “shoulds” that I’ve heard over the past few days.

You should know better.

This is how you should eat.

How much should I charge?

Ten reasons you should go to church. 

You should get dressed up. 

You should lose weight. 

You should buy some new school supplies.

Should I medicate my son?

What should I do?

I should get to bed earlier. 

You should be more thoughtful. 

A few years ago, someone told me, “Shoulds” are like bird droppings on your shoulder – just brush them off.”  I’m not convinced that all “shoulds” should be ignored 🙂 but there is a nugget of truth in these words.

Healthy behavior and choices are driven by wisdom, not guilt.

So, Jennie’s daughters are going to be swaddled in green and blue…and that’s just fine.

PS. Chris edited this post and told me that it wasn’t him who asked why I was making green and blue blankets for girls.  I think he said something like, “You should change that.” 

No Comments

  1. Kathy taylor

    You have hit upon one of my strongest pet peeves. I have started to say” “Don’t should me” or “don’t let people should you. ” Interesting how often this conversation has come up this summer.
    I love the blankets!

  2. Vicky

    I believe I could hold a gold medal in Olympic Level Shoulding! Thank you, friend, for being by my side.

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