The heart of this ‘No More Questions’ (thanks Dave) piece is sort of a ”Sh*t My Chinese Grandma Says” (though the end segment is a bit too sentimental). Aside from the irreverent takes on life, I was especially taken by her mention of the Chinese tradition of saying ‘you’re sorry’ by making a cup of tea for the person to whom you are apologizing. A great way to truly embrace failure and take accountability for it.
Too often our apologies are throw away comments made more from compunction than sincerity. We think they accept, acknowledge and resolve our failures, but they really don’t. Because we haven’t embraced the failure enough. The formality and generosity of the tea ritual struck me as a heartfelt gesture that one simply couldn’t pass off glibly (though grandma found a way to misuse it).
The power of an effective apology also recalled a piece I listened to by ‘The Scary Guy’. He had 7 day challenge where “you do not say a bad word or call someone a name other than their own for this period.” Which often begged the question, ‘What do you do when I slip up?’ And he had a very simple answer….”Apologize.”
Making a cup of tea is a very fitting way to express care and consideration for someone. Our neighbour makes his wife a cup of tea every morning and brings it to her in bed. In our house, when Lori or I make each other a cuppa, we ritualistically proclaim ‘Happy I Love You Day!’ (by some strange coincidence, every day is an ‘I Love You Day’). I guess it’s because a cup of tea is more than a beverage poured or item fetched. It involves not just crafting with several steps, but customising to that person’s often very particular desires (getting the temperature or amount of milk just right).