If lack of motivation, lack of time or multiple failed attempts are holding you back from making changes in 2021, my FREE challenge will fix that. Register NOW!
If you read my post the other day about Number 7’s birthday, you know we spent an hour in hell.
Okay we actually spent an hour in Walmart but it’s the same thing.
Because I stupidly went to the Walmart near me that is always dirty and poorly stocked and disorganized and just really not an enjoyable place to visit.
There is another Walmart in the opposite direction from my house, but because of the other places I needed to go that day, I went to Dirty Gross Walmart, or DGW for short.
One of the aisles I wanted to look at was the one that has all the art supplies — the markers and the crayons and the paints and that kind of stuff.
There was a woman working there, stocking the greeting cards, and she had a massive cart overflowing with cardboard and a whole bunch of other crap that made it impossible to even walk down the aisle, and she was blocking ALL the art stuff.
Literally all of it.
Number 7 was kind of eager to see if there was anything she wanted to get since it was her birthday and I had given her a budget to pick some stuff out for herself, but it was all blocked and I said, “Yikes, we can’t even get to anything!”
And the Greeting Card Lady said to us,
GIVE ME A COUPLE MINUTES TO FINISH THESE, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
And I wanted to be like
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, LADY IT’S MY KID’S BIRTHDAY
YOU KNOW, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SUCH AN ASSHOLE ABOUT IT.
BUT, I have come a very long way in my eight years here on the blog, and all I said was,
And we turned around and left the aisle. And Dirty Gross Walmart.
Fast forward to today.
Number 6 and 7 are nine and ten years old, and just like any siblings, they get along really well a lot of the time and then sometimes they want to beat the shit out of each other.
Usually the shit-beating stage is reached when one person has decided to push the other person’s buttons over and over and over and over and over and over again.
I’m homeschooling Number 6 and 7 right now, so they spend a lot of time together. Today was also a hybrid day for Number 3 and 5 who are doing “regular” school right now.
Number 5 came down into the kitchen where I was with Number 6 and 7, and she did some button pushing, and Number 6 started to lose his shit.
He was doing a lot of finger pointing and blaming and eventually yelling, and ultimately he placed all the responsibility for losing his temper on Number 5.
WELL SHE MADE ME MAD BECAUSE SHE WAS DOING BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!!
This presented a really good homeschooling opportunity to discuss managing your emotions and taking responsibility for your reactions to any situation.
Because there are gonna be a truck load of times in your life when people annoy the living shit out of you.
There will be times when people do stuff to really see if they can get you to snap.
There will be times when you cannot even believe somebody said the things they just said.
There will be times when your blood is BOILING.
I mean, if you’ve ever been in the middle of a divorce there is a good chance you have experienced this many, many, many, many,
So I explained to Number 6 how throughout the course of his life, people are gonna piss him off.
They are going to do all sorts of stupid stuff, all sorts of mean stuff, all sorts of thoughtless stuff, all sorts of manipulative stuff…
And he will never be able to control them.
But he can control himself.
He can control his thoughts around situations, and he can control his actions around situations.
Nobody makes him yell. Nobody makes him lose his shit.
Nobody makes him do anything.
It’s always a choice.
And so we talked about how the most powerful response you can have to these kinds of situations is to not lose your cool at all.
To stay calm.
To not give the button pusher a reaction.
And to simply walk away.
We talked about how sometimes people don’t necessarily mean to be jerks to you. Maybe they just had a bad day. Maybe they are tired. Maybe they are worried about something. Maybe a family member is sick.
Of course, maybe they are just being assholes.
Either way, when you lose your shit in response to someone else being a dick, you are choosing to lose your shit.
Now you are a dick, too.
(I didn’t say dick to Number 6)
You could choose to respond in another way and remember that a person’s response says nothing about you and everything about them.
And you know what Number 6 said after I finished explaining this to him???
“You mean like when we were at Walmart and that lady was mean to you and you just said Whoa! and then walked away?”
“Yes!!!” I told him (minus the holy shit — that was just in my head).
He got it!!!
Does he have this mastered?
It’s gonna take A LOT of modeling and repetition and practice for him to really get this, and I’m sure tomorrow he’s gonna have another freakout over something stupid.
But that will really just be another opportunity for practice.
Ultimately, he understands it. He isn’t anywhere near totally mastering this yet, but we will continue to work on it.
And the Dirty Gross Walmart Moment was a reminder that your kids are watching.
They are always watching.
I don’t always set the best example.
I’m a human.
But I’m way better than I was ten years ago.
And this time I got it right.
AND THERE WAS A WITNESS.
And I’m super glad the witness happened to be my own little Number 6.
It’s gonna take a long time for him to figure this out and for it to become an autmatic reaction.
A LONG TIME.
I mean, I’m 51 and I’m just getting the hang of it.
But Number 6 has a 41-year head start on me.
This was one of those homeschool moments I’m so grateful for.
Because there is a lot of kindness talk in school. There is also a lot of test prep and practice.
But you know what there isn’t a lot of?
Teaching kids how to manage thoughts and emotions.
Because normally we go after the asshole or the bully or the douchebag who says something shitty. We teach anti-bullying and kindness out the wazoo.
And all of that is great and necessary.
But what our kids really need (and don’t receive) in school, is tons and tons of practice on regulating emotions and learning how to respond to button pushing in a way that is respectful and doesn’t add to the problem.
And that’s a problem.
Because no matter what we do and teach in school, there will always be a lifetime of stupid shit that people are going to say and do to you.
It doesn’t stop when you receive a high school diploma.
It doesn’t stop when you recieve a college degree.
It doesn’t ever stop really.
But if we teach our kids they have what they need inside of them, if we teach them how they can effectively and respectfully respond to the inevitable insults and button pushing and overall douchiness coming their way for the next sixty or seventy or eighty years, then we have armed them.
And we have taught them how to disarm the button-pushing douches.
And then our kids are truly confident, kind, educated, armed, and ready to make a serious difference.
One response at a time.