Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Can you hear them now?

Recently I saw this hilarious email about the worst job in America. It shows about three minutes of this guy saying Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes. It shows him all day saying yes and cussing a lot to the person on the other end of the phone. In the end it shows the Verizon Guy asking can you hear me now? I thought it was hilarious.

Now, this may take a bit, but stretch your imagination as you walk with me. There are some kids who are not always happy, but then what kid is? (Okay you there, in the back, yes we see your hand, that's nice, but our kids live in reality!) Well, it happens that most of the time the demand is unreal, the demand is something totally off track. I know, you the grown-up, are left standing there wondering how the argument got so far off to the left of what you thought the problem was.

So.....if you're still with me, many times kids can't express some feelings that they don't understand. They also have conflict at times when they just begin to learn that grown ups can and do make mistakes. They are finding their voice in the world and just what their boundaries are. As a result, when they find an invisible boundary, usually marked by your raised voice, a couple of pointing fingers and sweat dropping off your brow, they panic. That's when they will blurt something way out there in the field of memories that doesn't make any sense to you.

"Yeah, well at least I didn't go through a red light like you did that one time!"

Relax, it's not personal, it's what is known as a retreat back into what they KNOW to be true, what they know is right--that small, teeny tiny, eentsie weentsie, little bit of the world that they can control. And it's not about control so much as a contribution, a voice, a raising of flags on their piece of real estate.

At least that's what I choose to believe. And if you follow me, you'll never get lost, because wherever you go, there you are!

So, instead of raising the hurricane flag when they do blurt something totally outrageous, next time, let them retreat. Let them regroup, especially if they're boys, for some reason, we act more impulsively and therefore take more time to react and change directions.

You can bring them back to the point of issue, but don't make the mistake of arguing the moot point, the issue from three weeks ago. (And don't you dare run any more red lights unless you want to hear about it some more) Next time, give them an example.

"You know what you're right. I was wrong when I ran the red light. I'm sorry. Next time I'll try harder."

See if they react the same way about their particular issue that you started the argument about. If not, then maybe suggest that they should apologize, and try harder next time. Ask if they can help you watch for red lights, and you'll watch for whatever it was that started this evening's dialogue.

Now, if your kids are hard core battle hardened soldiers for their cause, I can't help you. You're on your own. "You guys got issues!" JUST KIDDING! But I really can't help you if the water's that deep and the boat's that fast. I can only tell you how it was being the driver of that fast boat. (MAN WAS IT FUN!!!!)

You know, during the war, our Psychological Operations Units (can we say that and kids in the same sentence?) were waging war even before a shot was fired. They were playing tank music during the night across the border on HUGE, LOUD speakers. It was supposed to scare the Bejezus out of the Iraqis in the middle of the night. It was a false move that worked of course.

Now, having said that, listen to your conversations/arguments with your kids. Are they playing tank music? Listen closely for it. Can you hear them now?

"It does no good to shoot at noise." (Write that down).