We utter that word a lot. Okay. What does it really mean? I'm half hanging in there, half falling out? The cup is half full or half empty, I can't tell which?
Our kids say, "I'm okay..." and we take it as meaning that they feel fine, their day went well, or their day might - at best- have passed by in an ambiguous haze, but they experienced no real problems.
But what if that's not true?
What if 'okay' simply evolved into our community's catch all, emotional evasion when someone doesn't want to answer... Doesn't want to burden the inquiree with the truth. Today, this week, these last few months kinda sucked. Maybe they weren't horrible, but I don't feel good about myself, my performance, my looks. I don't think I measure up to the standards I'm pretty sure I hear falling from everyone's mouths.
Run a bunch of okays together and you've got a mess without any realization it was heading your way until SMACK! It's here. Or, worse, in our kid's lap. And we let it get there by default. By giving meaning to a word that has ambiguous meaning at best, and really says I'm okay, but not okay. Okay?
It hurts to realize, after too many lost moments to check in further, that it's our job to change the conversation. Our job to extend the conversation, explore the true feelings hidden behind okay. Maybe they're Grand, or terribly ugly, but the hidden holds much more power - power to hurt, to fester, to cause doubt. We can change that, take that power away, use words with clear meaning to truly connect.
I'm not okay; not today. I forgot to make that difference. I failed to explore, to check in further. My kiddo's hurting, and I not only missed it, I allowed it room and time to grow.
Today, I'm committing to checking in, digging deeper, taking power back from the ambiguous and ambivalent. Making sure my kids grab that power back. We all need, at the very least, to think about this. When we ask, "How was your day?" And ask that okay define greater meaning, it shows we're listening, and that we care.