Wisdom from the Jesuits

“It is easier to get forgiveness than it is to secure permission.”

– Jesuit Saying

Like the Modern Wisdom quote from earlier this week, this one can be misconstrued if you want to use it to rather selfish or destructive ends – though I think probably all wisdom can. Me, I choose to apply this to the lighter end of the intention spectrum.

This quote makes me think of all the moments when someone was in charge of me and they didn’t really understand why I wanted something, or why I needed something (a thing, or to do or say a thing, you know how it goes), and it didn’t take me long as a child to realize that sometimes I really had to demonstrate how good/safe/holy/helpful/innocent a thing was before I was actually allowed to do it.

This isn’t to say that people in authority, from parents on out, don’t ever know what is right for those under their authority. Absolutely not the case. But we both know at least one example from our lives, or the lives of those we know closely, where that authority was abused. Maybe the parent had undiagnosed, or unaided stuff going on (everything from alcoholism to mental illness), and while they did the best they could, it just wasn’t enough. Maybe the boss actually was incompetent or just set in their ways – they’re still doing the best they can, they are just not up to the challenges they face.

In such situations, kids will figure out how to get their needs met, by hook or by crook, because evolution is handy that way. And likewise, if a thing needs to get done, sometimes you have to do an end run around your boss and show them the results before you let them in on the plan.

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