In the span of roughly twenty-four hours, I played a role in the phrase “It’s important to me” on two separate occasions, and in two separate roles. Here’s what happened:
First, my supervisor and I were discussing how we can be at times both unbelievably “knowing” while at others, incredibly absent-minded. For instance, I can read what my wife is thinking from her expressions, the way she is holding herself, the words she uses, etc.
But, I can never seem to remember how to put the roll of paper towel on the dispenser in the way that she likes.
My supervisor was saying how she went through a similar situation with her husband. What finally helped her get over the absent-minded hump was her husband’s use of “It’s important to me” in the conversation they had about it. Mind you, they had discussed the situation (in her case, it was putting toilet paper on the roll the right way) many times. But it only stuck when he used “It’s important to me” in the actual discussion.
This morning, my daughter and I were taking care of a number of errands. At one of our stops, she simply crossed her arms in the back seat and said, “I’m not getting out.” I tried, in vain, for roughly five minutes to get her to join me; everything from pleading, to threatening (though, I didn’t bribe her, that’s not my style). And then, I remembered the previous day’s discussion of “It’s important to me” and gave that a try.
With little resistance, she joined me.
While we must use a saying like this sparingly (after all, everything can’t be to the same level of importance), it speaks to an important point: Sometimes letting others know how much we value something is all that we really need to do.