Several months ago a wise friend introduced me to the concept of conversations with an 'alien.' Before you run away from the computer certain I have finally lost it, hang on. She described how she imagines trying to explain certain human tendencies to someone trying to make sense of people.
Me: "My feelings are a little hurt that I wasn't invited to do such-and-such."
Alien "I didn't realize you enjoy that activity."
Me: "I don't."
Alien: "I thought you were already committed to something else at the same time."
Me: "I am."
Alien: "So, you are upset because you were not invited to participate in an activity that you don't enjoy on a date you could not have attended?"
You get the idea.
Honestly, we haven't really needed an alien in the last several years because having kids in the house has offered a similar perspective. Answering the probing questions of a 6 year old trying to make sense of the world has levelled me more than once.
Now that our children are growing up and the lure of the world's version of things is getting stronger, I decided it might not be such a bad idea to invite a one-eyed green man into our home too. (Etsy, I love you!)
We made his debut recently during a conversation about 4th grade social hierarchy. I had the kids try to explain 'popular' and how/why certain people got to decide what others should think is cool.
I know it sounds silly, but I appreciate that this whimsical guy takes some of the pressure off some conversations that might otherwise feel judgmental or stressful. It gives us a non-threatening way to boil issues down to their simple roots--a 'time out' of sorts in otherwise emotional conversations to regain perspective.
And, frankly, I have found myself having a couple of perspective-rendering conversations with him too.
Just a little thing...but I like it & thought I'd pass it on.