Is being stubborn good or bad?

Dealing with my son is an interesting experience, not only for me, but also for my daughter.  In one occasion, out of anger, I said to him, “You’re like a pimple you know, painful but difficult to remove,”  In spontaneity, my daughter chipped in, “Yeah, and if you try to squeeze it, it’ll leave a permanent scar.”  We ended up bursting with laughter and the ‘felony’ was forgotten.  

My daughter would at times ask me, “Can’t you just disown him or lock him out of the house?  Our life will be sooooooo perfect without him.”  But will it?

My question is, will your life really be better if there are no stubborn people?  Let’s look at the definition of stubborn.

A stubborn person is one who refuses to change his/her ideas or to stop doing something.  A stubborn person is also one who is difficult to deal with or to remove and is unreasonably or perversely unyielding (Merriam-Webster).

We deal with stubborn people all the time, every single day of our life.  We, ourselves, can be stubborn at times and other people have to deal with our stubbornness, …  Come on……admit it.  

I believe stubbornness is kind of ingrained in us – it is part of our innate quality or character just like patience, compassion and love.  It is this quality that actually helps us to persevere in our daily life.  If we are not stubborn, we will lose hope whenever we are afflicted with predicaments, dilemmas or cataclysms.

However, being stubborn to the extent of causing pain and suffering to another person is inexcusable and should not be tolerated.  It should be dealt with immediately.  How you deal with stubborn people depends on your situation and who you are dealing with.  There is no one single method that works for everybody.  You have to come up with different initiatives to stop the stubborn behavior from causing harm or disturbances to your daily life.  

Being a teacher, I have to deal with stubbornness all the time, not only with my family and myself but also with students and fellow teachers.  So, it’s really inevitable.  Sometimes I have to deal with it harshly, but most of the times I try to defuse it softly.  It works better.  Students, especially middle and high school students and fellow teachers alike, tend to respond better when you don’t try to challenge them or to show authority to them.  It really depends on the situation, the person concerned, the context of the incident and the people affected.

So the question whether our lives will be better or not without stubborn people can only be answered by ourselves.  If the stubbornness is really affecting you mentally, psychologically and physically, then, it’s better to take it out of the equation.  But it is not, and if it’s just like a passing shower, think of all the other good things that that person has.  

Now going back to my son…..

The three of us, my son, my daughter and myself were walking across the school courtyard towards the school building early one morning.  (I teach in the same school where my children are).  I was angry with him for something he did in the morning and was nagging and lecturing at him (softly), but my facial expressions showed it all.  We passed by a male teacher (a colleague) and my son’s High School Geography teacher. My son stopped to greet him while my daughter and I continued walking.  

The teacher said to my son, “I can see that your mother is cross with you.”  My son answered, “It’s normal Mister, mothers are always cross with their children.” 

Instead of admitting to his misdoing, my son chose to push the blame to me and to all mothers for always being cross with their children.  That’s stubbornness.

angry face

I know ‘The Mom Song’ is old, but I never get bored listening to it.  And I also particularly like the ‘Child Song’ too.





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