Dear Family & Friends,
I went to pick up my 3-year old son from his dad’s house after work. Once upon a time we were married and raising our happy family together, but now we couldn’t agree on anything. Rules were so different at each house, it was so bizarre.
How To Deal With Difficult People
— OR —
With A Difficult Situation
For some reason, they were arguing when I arrived. His father was overreacting and yelling at our little boy by the time I walked up to the porch. I didn’t know what the problem was, but as my son walked past me and towards the car, I could see the anger rise up in him. His little hands turned to fists and his shoulders arched up high. He turned around and pointed at his dad, “I’m not the jerk! You’re the jerk!”
Normally I would say a parent should step in if a child is being disrespectful, but I didn’t know what they were arguing about and I really didn’t want to get involved in their disagreement. I had spent years in and out of court with this man and he never cooperated with anything. I didn’t even know him anymore. Besides, how low could a grown man go, I thought, calling a little boy names?
His dad stammers as he tries to say one last thing, “You’re mother is going to have a talk with you when you get home!”
My son continued walking to the car. I was still standing there in shock for a moment. I felt put on the spot. What was I suppose to say? We have a no-name-calling rule at my house, but his father would act like he was just joking if someone was offended when he belittled them. I never understood why you would purposely try to hurt someone’s feelings like that? Just to win an argument? I silently agreed with my son, his dad is a jerk!
I got in the car with my son and started the short one-mile drive home. I didn’t know what I was going to say to him. Before we can even turn the corner at the end of the street, my son asks me, “So, are you going to have a talk with me?”
Mothers Know Best
I was hoping we would get home first so I had time to think. I flashed back to a week or two before when I was arguing with his sister. I wasn’t even out of bed yet and she was standing beside me trying to have her way. I wasn’t having it that particular morning. I am the parent, I am in charge, I get the last word!
My little boy asks about breakfast. I had planned everyone’s favorite: Bacon. We started down the long hallway to the kitchen when my daughter stopped me with her demands. Here we go again!
We were arguing in the doorway to her bedroom. Around in circles we go, mother and daughter locked into another battle of wits.
My son breaks into the conversation and he takes me by the hand. “We were gonna go make bacon, remember?”
About crushed my heart! Of course my time and energy should be spent with this little one making memories in the kitchen and not arguing with his sister! Ugh! I quickly ended the conversation, closing with my last words to my mini-me.
I walk into the kitchen and see the peacemaker of the family looking up at me, and he asks, “Do you need a hug?”
I see his arms reaching out to me, I drop to my knees, saying “Yes,” and hugged him back. As we sat there on the kitchen floor hugging each other, he says to me, “You have to be brave.”
“Yes,” I say.
“And Happy.” He says.
“Yes.” I say.
“You have to be brave and happy.”
He was so smart. Brilliant, in fact. He knew at that moment you have to stand up for yourself and be brave, but at the same time not let it bring you down and make you sad or angry, just be happy and move forward. And that’s how the family motto was born. When dealing with difficult people and difficult situations, you have to be “Brave & Happy.”
Learning From Our Lessons
So then it hit me. As I turned the corner down another street, I told my son, “You have to be brave and happy.” I was proud that this little guy stood up for himself and didn’t let anyone push him around, not even his father. I could see his look of concern fade now and he was relieved. He smiled as he remembered our little conversation in the kitchen last week.
“When you have to deal with difficult people, you have to be brave and happy.” We can forget about angry people and let them be angry. We were going to be happy now and go make dinner. “I love you so much,” I told him.
“I love you, too, Mom.”
“All the way to the moon, and back again!” we said together.
I thought about our little motto, “Brave & Happy.” Its like the entire serenity prayer all wrapped up into those three little words, but very concise little words.
God, grand me the serenity to accept the things I can not change;
courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
BRAVE = COURAGE
Be brave and have the courage to stand up for yourself. Speak up and don’t let a situation grow out of control… take care of the situation and do what has to be done… because it won’t go away or get better until you do.
HAPPY = SERENITY
Or be happy. If there isn’t anything you can do or it is none of your business, you have to find the serenity within yourself to accept it as it is and move on. Don’t let your mind wander back to that situation and upset your serenity. Force your mind to change the subject! Look forward to your dream, for example, and let that other thing go… be happy.
WISDOM = CHOOSE BOTH
Wisdom is knowing which direction to take. Always do what you can to improve a situation. Think wisely if it is in your best interest or everyone’s best interest… if it is a benefit in some way, you must be brave and act accordingly.
But be happy also, no matter what, at the same time. If there isn’t anything you can do (or maybe it is someone else’s battle and not yours) you have to let it go. Whether you agree or not. Let it go. Accept the fact there are other people existing on this planet, and other people’s actions and opinions are okay for them, without it affecting you.Your happiness and serenity is controlled by you – not them. And isn’t that a wonderful thing!
You are in control of your reaction and your attitude regardless of their action or their attitude. You can control how you feel and you can decide how you react to difficult people… with anger and dislike, or with love and foresight.
So simple, yet so complex, Be Brave & Happy!
P.S. Tell me about your family motto! I welcome your comments, please post below.