It’s been a busy, crazy, emotional past couple of months in our family. We have had many life events – some very sad – illness and death, and some joyful – the sprouting of baby teeth, and the beginning of preschool. It’s been hard to finish anything I’ve written, but now that the little guy has started school I have time to finish up my beginnings!
Today’s post is not one of the ones that I have started and not finished, however. Today’s post sprouts from the events in our country that have taken place in the last couple of weeks (and months). I’m not going to get into any kind of political conversation here – don’t worry – I’m sure there’s plenty of that going on on television and in your homes and places of work. Instead, I’m writing about something I’ve been thinking a lot about – the idea of power.
Let me start with a story. This story, or some version of it, is something that seems to happen repeatedly in my home.
Me: “Bud, it’s time to brush teeth.”
Little guy: “No, I don’t want to.”
Me: “You have to. You have to take care of your teeth so blah blah blah…”(which you know is what he is hearing).
Him: “No, I don’t want to.”
Me (starting to get agitated and raise my voice): “If you don’t, we can’t blah blah blah.”
Him (starting to get agitated and raise his voice): “I don’t care!”
The voice raising starts to escalate and it all ends with his teeth getting brushed, him crying, and me feeling exasperated and like a terrible person.
So what does this story demonstrate? A power struggle. Whether or not his teeth should be brushed is irrelevant right now. Whether there is a better way to get him to brush his teeth is irrelevant (though I have found a better, more peaceful way). What is important is that my little guy is trying to maintain power and control over his teeth and I am trying to gain power to brush them.
Power struggles are not fun, especially when you are on the “losing” side. In the above example, even though his teeth were brushed, we were both on the losing side. We both felt sad after everything was said and done.
Now, I didn’t get into this parent business to lord power over my kids. I want them to grow up knowing they have power over their own lives and that the only way someone else can have power over them is if they willfully give it up. I’m not saying that as an insult to anyone who has done that. I’ve definitely done that. I’ve been catching myself giving power to the fear and anger that has been pervading this country recently. I’m also not saying that if someone else harms you, you’re willfully allowing them to hurt you. What I am saying is we have control over how we see the events that happen to us, what we do about them, and how we let them alter our lives. That should bring us hope, and… you guessed it… JOY!
So if some of you out there have been feeling scared, or sad, or angry about the way the world seems to be turning, or if you’re feeling hopeless and out of control, I hope this brings you a little joy and inspiration! You have the power regardless of what anyone else says!