One of the greatest and hardest things about being a parent is being taught life lessons by your children, it is incredibly humbling, often embarrassing and usually very emotional. My 5 year old handed me my most recent life lesson and while this one came in a more roundabout way it still needed to be learned by both her and me. The lesson? OWN YOUR REACTIONS!
We hear this lesson in cliche phrases all the time but do we ever really think about what it means and the long standing complications and repercussions that can occur. Well I have spent the last 24 hours unraveling the domino effect of one reaction that was a bit too extreme for the circumstances.
Yesterday another child cut in front of my daughter in line, she fell down… no big deal. It was a case of a 5 year old acting 5 and it should have been addressed as such with a mild punishment like apologize and go to the back of the line. This is the true story that I heard from my daughter late last night but was far from the story told to the other child’s parents and to me. When my daughter fell to the ground she overreacted causing the teacher to think she was really hurt. In the confusion of her tears it was believed the other child pushed her down on purpose. As I am sure you can surmise since it was perceived as intentional hurting not accidental tripping as kids shoved into line it was dealt with in a more serious manner. Thankfully after a discussion with my daughter, who had no clue how it was playing out in the adult world, it was clarified that there was no ill intention at all and she was not even hurt, tired and overreacting, but not hurt. Thankfully after a call to the other parent, who of course was very upset to think her child hurt a friend, and a discussion with the teachers involved it was all cleared up. But the thing that really broke my heart was the unintentional overreaction caused a chain reaction that did not need to be.
My daughter and I discussed making sure we are portraying our feelings accurately and how we can unintentionally hurt people by not reacting the right way. All of this got me to thinking about my reactions lately. I am very pregnant, very tired and very cranky and my family is bearing the brunt end of that and it is not fair. My bad mood has caused me to overreact more than once and that is not acceptable and that is all on me. So today, and hopefully everyday, I am going to own my reactions. No more blaming circumstances or others behavior, only I can choose how I react no one can make me do anything.
So thank you to my daughter for reminding me of a valuable life lesson, my reaction is just that MY reaction and I must always own it and be prepared to stand behind it or there may be far reaching and unforseen consequences.