Adulting is hard. Add a child or two to the mix and things get really spicy, really quickly. Think about it, some days you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. The littles in your life do, too. Put a parent and child together who have both had long days, one with chores and errands and commitments, the other with learning all the new rules at kindergarten and you have a recipe for conflict.
Today was especially intense, but in the moment I caught a small insight. Mr. Opinion was telling me one of the 1000 things that he intended to do. As I heard the words coming out of my mouth, “You are NOT in charge…stop telling me what you want to do… You are five, you need to learn that you don’t get what you want by demanding it…” It dawned on me just how much we have in common. This was a teachable moment if only I could properly seize it. This was a moment of #Action that could reshape these discussions.
I’d read an Article that said our words become their inner voices and I realized that I needed to reshape the message. Do I want him to simply bow to my authority? By no means! What I really needed him to do was have respect for himself, for his parents, and to control his emotions and actions. How potent and important a message for a 5 year old to learn! What’s more is that in the moment I need the very same lesson. I won’t get my way by simply demanding it. This was a moment for direct application of some Stoic Philosophy that I’d written down just this morning.
The BIG 3 Lessons of Stoicism
1) Our thoughts affect our emotions
2) There is wisdom in focusing on what you can control
3) Habits are important
So, was I teachable? Did I change the message? Heck yes! The new habit will be to relate and empathize, reinforce that I understand the struggle of not feeling in control, but to assure him that even when things get out of control and you feel overcome with emotion, we can control our thoughts, we can focus on our #Actions, control our behavior, and be strong people of character.
The same lesson applies at 5, 15, and 50. These seemingly tiny changes in our thoughts and behaviors will play out in a lifetime of improved attitude and behavior.
Adulting is hard, parenting isn’t easier, but we get the benefit of little instructors and trainers whose wants and needs are small (unending, demanding, relentless… sure) at this point but they are beautiful mirrors of the things we need to work on inside ourselves.
We WANT things to go a certain way. We have our own plans at 5 and 50, but we will all do well to remember to see the little lessons and calls to #Action in the day-to-day.