On Being Clueful and Caring About It

I’ve taken to using the word ‘cluefulness’ and all its glorious variants because I’m tired of hearing people say that people they don’t agree with are clueless. Listen up: that language misses the point, and here’s why.

First of all, people who don’t have a clue don’t realize what they are missing. Duh. Why would they have a clue about what they’re missing if they don’t have a clue about how useful it might be to know how other people see things?

Second, I realized that often it doesn’t matter if you have a clue or not. How many times have you found yourself in a situation where you really didn’t have a clue? For me, it was my kids and the video games I just couldn’t get the point of. And that’s where they taught me the lesson of being successfully clueless: What matters is whether or not you care.

I was clueless but I decided that I still had to care. Between my two kids, the television was permanently tuned to whichever game one or the other was playing. So, in my quest to raise a couple of good citizens, I was forced to confront my cluelessness and to try to become clueful.

It wasn’t that hard. I asked questions. I listened politely. Sometimes I shook my head, despairing I would ever be clueful enough. And amidst the head-shaking, some puzzle pieces must have rattled into place. I realized that my attraction to the game was irrelevant. It was important to my kids, and they were entitled to their own view of the game. And the world. And even their own view of me.

So that solved the problem. Because I cared, I became more clueful, at least where it concerned my job as mom. And, amazingly enough, it’s a solution that also works in the rest of life.

We can increase cluefulness in our time. We just need to care about it.

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