Friday, July 15, 2011

To My Children

One of the million things that I want you to fully grasp before you grow up and move out is that it is HUGELY important to be kind and patient.

If more parents would share the responsibility in teaching their children to be friendly and helpful, to give the benefit of the doubt when possible, I think the world would be a more peaceful place.

I also believe that this is not a skill you can just teach. Like reading a book or handing over a user guide.... we, your parents, need to MODEL this behavior.  If we are frustrated all the time, if we are impatient, argumentative and rude... you will be too.

There was a day not long ago that I overheard my boys fighting over a game. A perceived wrong in the eyes of one and the other defending himself as he was completely clueless as to what he did, but knew he was right no matter what....
I did jump in and stop the arguing... I walked them both slowly through what had actually happened. Essentially they both had the same facts, just entirely different perceptions of what happened.  After a good discussion, they were fine again.

I sat for a bit and reflected on the situation. And you know what I figured out?  The trucker was working a lot of long shifts, I had been running myself on empty.  Meaning, WE were being impatient and cranky. We were being short with each other, and ultimately with the kids too. Our frazzled nerves and tired bodies were wearing everyone down.

We took a day to just chill out, he napped, then I napped, then for a little bit we both were napping.  We stuck to an easy supper. Made no plans. Just stayed in that perfect vegetable state for a day.  The next day we were still a little groggy (our bodies didn't know what to do with all that sleep) but we were recharged and energized. We found a solution, set it in place and went back to paying close attention to how WE were acting. And the kids are no longer at each others throats. 

There are two valuable points here.  I took the time to understand and encourage them to understand what the problem WAS.  Then I found the underlying cause and resolved it.  I'm not saying we have a perfectly harmonious house ALL the time.  But we do have a happy home most of the time.
In any situation, your best bet is listening to the person you're conflicting with and making sure that you both understand the problem. At that point, and only at that point can you begin to resolve the issue.  This is a lesson that will carry you through your life. In all your personal relationships and professional ones and most certainly as an employee of any company. An open and understanding mind will open doors for you wherever you go. Every employee of every company is a part of customer service. Good service means repeat business, recognition and often new opportunities and promotions for you. You benefit the business, you benefit yourself. And if you are in a position that you are not happy with, look for the underlying reasons and change it. Maybe you have the wrong job. Maybe you have been working too many hours, or not enough. Maybe, by teaching you to look for deeper reasons and to show patience and kindness first, you will never have to worry because you will be successful no matter where you go.

Trust me, it works. I have never left a job that didn't try really hard to keep me (even the one that went bankrupt, I had 4 job offers from co-workers after that).  I'm honest and up front. If I'm having a problem, sometimes it might take me awhile to own it, but I DO own it.  I accept whatever consequence and move on. (sometimes this is taken as being too honest, but .. what do I have to hide?).  

Just do the right thing, no matter where you are. At home, at work, at school. It is not the end of the world if you admit when you are wrong.  Even if you are not.  Be the bigger person, be patient and kind, loving and understanding.  If you wait for someone else to do it, it won't happen.  Happiness breeds more happiness. Misery loves company.  

Don't let the world bring you down. 
Work to bring the world back UP with you.

When the sky is dark, BE the sunshine.

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