BY TRACY RAHN, ACS PARENT
I didn’t expect to start my Saturday morning off by being jolted out of bed at 7:30 am to dive headfirst into a discussion about defusing bombs. But here we are.
To be clear, the subject matter at hand was actually how to defuse a situation with our words, but defusing bombs was kind of the easiest metaphor to use in the situation. Aren’t parenting metaphors fun?!
Fast and Furious
This felt like a big thing to teach my kids in this season though. Maybe it’s always been a big thing, but is it just me, or do situations get escalated way faster now than ever before (hello lady at Starbucks in a proper tizzy over her non-fat hazelnut soy being made with almond milk instead…the nerve)?
Or let’s not even begin to describe social media land and how quickly comments can be not only misinterpreted, but completely rearranged, blown up and out of proportion leaving a trail of emotional carnage in their wake.
Contain the Blast
A friend of mine used this term with me a few months ago. We were discussing a situation that we could just see “the blast” coming. The signs were telling. Those big, bright danger flashers were flashing. Something would come, we just didn’t know when.
And we were talking about how it’s important to not just learn to defuse situations before they start, which is obviously the best way, but in some situations just know when they are going to happen. I mean, we’re parents. We actually were teenagers once; we remember those years. We know stuff is going to get a little bit crazy.
So in those times, how do we learn to contain the blast?
Oh Jesus, take the wheel.
Take a Breath
So how does one even contain a blast with our kids, with our teenagers?
Honestly, I think the antithesis to a bomb going off is an atmosphere of safety and love. Safety to be heard, safety to listen, safety to express, safety to communicate. And all of the above, completely covered and coated and soaked and surrounded and full of love.
Maybe containing the blast with our kids actually means a little bit of containing a blast within ourselves. Pausing in that moment when I feel the sparks bubbling up inside of me, and breathe in peace for a second and breathe out anger so when my words come out they are not trailed with embers and ash.
The Buzz Word
What a gift we have, as parents, that we are the ones that get to teach our kids this stuff. The stuff of life that really matters. Emotional intelligence has seemed like a bit of a buzz word in the past few years, but what a great buzz word to bring something so profoundly important to the forefront of our minds.
That’s what I want for my kids.
To see others, and the world around them, with eyes and hearts wide open. Plus hopefully be able to recognize situations around them, and step into them with their own bomb defusing tool kits. To speak life and peace and love, instead of hate and anger.
Let’s face it, some bombs are going to go off. It’s inevitable.
But whether it’s defusing before, or containing after may we keep being kind to ourselves as we all soldier on (even when it’s an hour before the alarm clock on a weekend).