I remember the day when my 3 boys were in an argument when they were still 4, 5 and 7 years old.
One would point to the other for being at fault and saying: “You destroyed my toy.” The other would say: “I got mad because of YOU.” Â The other one would say something like: “I’m even angrier because of what you did.”
When I saw the 3 arguing, in a chaotic discourse of finger-pointing, I approached them. Â I didn’t tell them to stop. Â I didn’t shout. Â I didn’t give orders. Â Sure it was noisy with 3 boys practically talking at the same time. Â But what good will shouting do if what I will achieve is momentary peace. Â My objective is for my kids to BE EMPOWERED to handle these disagreements in the future.
I said to them: “Hi! May I ask you something?” Â I addressed one of them: “Has your brother X done anything to help you in the past?” Â The answer was a nod. Â I asked brother Y: “Has brother Z done anything to help you in the past?” The answer was “Yes”. And what about you, Z, has brother Y ever done anything to help you?” Â By this time, all three were saying yes while nodding their heads.
My follow up: “What did he do for you?”
Each recounted something good about each of the brothers. Â A few more minutes and the 3 boys were sharing beautiful and happy experiences of help that they got from each other. Â Smiling, laughing.
Then, I asked: “Why do you think that your brothers helped you or did all of those things for you?” Â I paused and waited for their answers.
“Because they love me.” was the answer from those young boys.
“Yes. Â You all love each other. Â Then, why do you have to quarrel? Â Everytime one does a mistake, you should recall all the wonderful things that your brother has done for you. Â Because those mistakes were unintentional. Â When you love someone, you don’t intentionally hurt the person. Â If ever your brother makes a mistake we should understand that it was an honest mistake and we have to focus on all the loving and thoughtful things that each has done for one another. Â Does that make sense? Â Can you do that?” Â Nods again from 3 young boys. Â “You love each other so you should be showing love for one another. Â Embracing, helping each other and not quarreling.”
1) Â What you focus on magnifies – instead of talking about the causes of the quarrel itself and focusing on the negatives, I decided to focus on the world’s most powerful emotion called LOVE;
2) Energies are re-channeledÂ or redirected but cannot be stopped – when people quarrel, there are a lot of negative energies within and just like anger, it would be difficult to stop a running train. Â It would be smoother and easier to rechannel the discussion and feelings from being negative to positive sharings. Â And by doing so, the feelings automatically follow. Â When one visualizes positive thoughts, positive feelings automatically flow.
Which comes first, actions or feelings?
People would say, I feel bad and thus, I’m sulking. But the more you sulk, the worse you feel. Â Try to read an inspiring book or watch a funny movie. Â You will just suddenly realize after some time that you feel better already. Â You might be surprised that you are already laughing while watching the movie. Â The truth is, by changing our actions, feelings will follow. Â When we talk about negatives and focus on the mistakes of our children or spouse, the angrier we get. Â By shifting the thoughts to the positive Â attributesÂ of a person, we begin to feel good about the person again.
Parenting is not about one incident or few tips put together. Â Parenting is more about leading by example. Â It is a string of moment-to-moment decisions and judgments, the big things and little acts that will influence our children’s upbringing.
What do you think?