I’m in the kitchen. I’ve just made a fresh cup of coffee.
The kids are in the front room about to do three GoNoodle Just Dance videos to wake up their bodies and get them moving. They do this every morning before we start homeschooling. It wakes up their bodies to wake up their minds. And it gives me nine minutes, ten if I’m lucky.
I pick up my book, the first fiction one I’ve read in a long time and dig in. I hear the sound of quibbling. It gets louder. And continues.
From two rooms away I yell. The voices in the front room explode. I continue to shout questions, comments, instructions, not hearing what they say back. I abandon my seat to go and ‘sort it out.’
In the space
When I finally enter the front room both children turn to me. They’re angry, annoyed and ready to blame the other. ‘She wouldn’t let me have this song’, ‘He knows I hate it’, ‘She growled at me!’ ‘He grabbed me!’ ‘She’s mean!!’ Then the crying begins.
I came in yelling and now I have to get them to be quiet. Quiet enough for me to understand what’s really happening. This is not easy, as everything is in full escalation mode. So I yell some more….. ‘Sit here!’ ‘Don’t do that.’ ‘Look at me.’ ‘Tell me what happened.’
Eventually, fifteen minutes later, after it all calms down I find out that they were in the middle of a discussion of what video to put on next. They’ve done a few similar ones for a few days in a row and want to do something different.
Ultimately I want them to figure it out with each other so I step away, back to the kitchen.
My coffee is cold.
Putting my oar in
Ever hear the phrase, putting your oar in?
As defined by the Cambridge dictionary
Put/Stick your oar in : to say or do something that annoys other people because they have not asked you to jointheirconversation or activity: No one asked her to help – she’s always sticking her oar in.
Well, my oar was well and truly in. Tossed from the kitchen down the hall into the front room, it hit my kids on the head.
And it HURT them.
I imagine it flying through the air as I speak so that I can get to the visual before I speak and stop myself. This is the work I have in front of me, the change I have to make.
Tuning in & tuning out
I’ve spent years tuning into their needs to keep them alive and safe, teaching them what’s OK and what’s not OK. I’m so used to tuning into my children’s needs that I have not learned the art and balance required to tune out and give them room to sort it out for themselves.
It’s time to cultivate that space. If I’m being honest this type of behavior doesn’t only happen with my children. But with this attention on it, it will end with me.
My NLP skills as a coach have helped me understand who I am and where my preferences lie. It speeds up change. But make no mistake, I’ve got plenty to learn.
Change ONLY happens when I am brave enough to look at the problem squarely in the eye and choose to shift it.
I’ll use visuals to change my thinking. I’ll connect in to my values. I’ll remind myself who I am striving to be. I will fall down and I will begin again.
The picture will change, because I’ve changed the only thing I can really control: me.
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