It’s Not About the Bubble Gum

Years ago my husband and I overheard two of our children arguing with each other.  Not being able to make out the details, we called them over to the living room which has always been the designated and official place for all family meetings.  We listened to each child describe their personal belief as to what was causing strife between the two siblings. My husband I agreed that it was a sticky issue that would cause most children to argue.  It was all about a piece of gum. All the yelling and tugging had to do with the last piece of gum to which each child felt entitled.  After about twenty minutes of attempting some sort of mediation and not making progress, my husband and I decided, at that moment in time, that it was not about the bubble gum.

We spent the next thirty minutes delving into what happened prior to the bubble gum surfacing into the visible environment. They each made the same profound remark which was “nothing happened.” At that point, most adults would have told the children to work it out in another area of the house, which they were initially attempting to do.  However, my husband and I decided to accept the challenge of discovering the message behind the encrypted, verbal battling that spoke of bubble gum.  Our diligence finally paid off when we all discovered something pertinent giving the gum dispute clarity. Apparently all of the children were playing together in the prior days leading up to the gum conflict. It seems that the child who was most insistent that there was a bubble gum injustice festering throughout the household and that he deserved the last piece of gum, was the same child who felt left out during the time the children were playing and interacting with one another.  At that point, we had to call in all of the children and it came to be a surprise to each of them that their brother felt left out. They each insisted that they never intended to do this while proclaiming their innocence and moderately accusing their brother of not understanding the reality of the situation. Another twenty minutes went by engulfed in conversation that taught the children to understand that everyone has a different perception of reality.  Whether or not our son was left out or not, the most important thing was to understand that he felt that way and that was his reality.  To debate about the details was not as near as important than to listen to why he felt that way and receive some validation that if you see and feel the world differently than others, it is perfectly understandable why perceptions are a personal thing that sometimes needs public recognition.

So, it was not about the lone piece of gum that needed to be claimed by an owner, it was about a boy with a lone perception that needed to be recognized by his family.

Since that time, my family continuously refers to “it’s not about the bubble gum” which means there is something much bigger that needs to be addressed. To this day, I have met people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs and none of them are immune from fighting over bubble gum.

homemade bubblegum stand

homemade bubblegum stand

Best Wishes to all,

Ivy Lifton

2 Responses to “It’s Not About the Bubble Gum

  • i think it’s a lot easier to just buy another piece of bubble gum and be done with it. It’s about 5 cents for a piece of bubble gum

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