Fear & Grace.
My phone rang early this morning. A friend was seeking permission to push her daughter out of the car. (thank god she wasn’t serious … at least I don’t think she was …) She was taking her daughter away to school for the first time, and the “belligerent attitude” was rearing its ugly head on both sides. Mom was saying that Daughter wasn’t appreciative of everything and daughter was … acting her age. Time for grace to intervene.
I asked Mom what was the emotion behind the “attitude”? After much haranguing and stress, what we came up with was fear. The stress and fear of being away from each other for the first time came out as anger and lashing out. I asked Mom if this is how she wanted the first day, and the last six hours to go, or if she lead with grace and love what would that look like. When we truly understand the cause behind the drama, our clarity to the situation is amplified and we can (in the words of a wise sage) “be the better person”.
How often does fear lead our actions? If your kid or dog or grandpa wanders into traffic, the first reaction is probably fear and shrieking. Then kid/dog/grandpa will feel bad and the whole thing will probably melt into a big hot mess. What if inside our head we held onto our fear AND the reaction that came out of us was led by grace & understanding?? Wouldn’t that be better? What if instead we use that fear and channel it in a loving way to re-educate the kid/dog/grandpa that walking in traffic sometimes has serious consequences that aren’t always pretty? What if Mom in the first example instead of pushing her daughter out of the moving care instead understood that this is a hard time for everyone, and allowed her daughter to grieve in whatever way she needed to, even if it was whiney and unappreciative?
So this week, lead with grace. Be the better person. Hug, don’t shriek. And when you feel like pushing your child out of a moving vehicle, pull over, and give them a big wet kiss instead. It’ll mortify them and that will make you feel good.
-Steve Simonin, President & CEO