Sunday, January 16, 2011

Live and Learn

This morning as I got out of bed I heard a small commotion outside my window. A young boy was crying that he didn't want to go to church. He said that he hated church and really didn't want to be there. His mother's reply caught me off guard. She told him that because he hated church and didn't want to go this morning she would make him go two or three more times this week!

I know, as parents, we don't always have the right answer available at the time of the situation. If we had a dollar for every time that happened, we'd all be millionaires! How do we handle these types of situations effectively for each party to come out a winner?

Deactivate reaction. Deactivate reaction. By thinking twice, counting to ten, sleeping on something, we all come out as winners. It is the nano second reaction that gets us into hot water. If we take this mother's response as an example, we can stand back and observe in a detached manner. Instead of punishing her son by giving him more time in church, she might have asked one question — why do you hate church? His answer would probably have led her to a better understanding and a solution to his emotional upset. She punished him with the thing that she wanted him to like. This skewed solution only achieves more anger, misunderstanding and reactive behavior. The mother's frustration and reaction dug a deeper hole, manifesting a more difficult path to travel in the subsequent days.

The expression "live and learn", is spoken very often off the cuff. But by realizing that that is what we are supposed to do, learn by our experiences, our mistakes, and not just a blasé retort when something goes wrong, is a valuable lesson. When we take that ten seconds, digest it and commit it to memory and a part of our education of life, we multiply our chances of making better judgment calls in the future.

None of us has all the answers, even though the answers are already known, hidden behind many veils. By deactivating reaction, our minds can sort through the process whereby we arrive at a calmer, more practical solution. It just takes practice. Live and learn.