One very important thing that we can teach our children is how to recognize the difference between “the small stuff” and what is really a cause for concern or action.
Is it the end of the world if things don’t go your way? Is it the end of the world when you order something and it arrives later than expected? Is it the end of the world if something isn’t 100 percent what you thought it would be? No, of course it isn’t. These things can be disappointing at the time, sure! But, do we want our kids to have every disappointment in their life escalated to crisis status?
I think a lot of is comes down to perspective and attitude. Some people have a tendency to react as if the small stuff was really big stuff. They yell, freak out, and react strongly, essentially getting worked up and stressed out and uptight over things that really aren't that important. They hang on to their anger and frustration. Others seem to be able to ‘go with the flow’ and not stress about the small stuff.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t care about the small stuff. It’s just that when something goes wrong, we can either make the best of things or have it ruin our day (or more).
Leading Your Children by Example
The best way we can help our children is by setting the example for them as they grow up. Our children see every day how we react to the world around us, and learn from that. Our actions and reactions shape how they will act and react. Ultimately, while there are a whole lot of things in life we cannot control, we can control our reactions to them!
As much as we would like for our children to always be happy, we should not shield them from disappointment because life is full of them and they will need to know how to deal with it. If they don’t learn this as children, what happens as they grow up and start facing the world on their own? Will they be overwhelmed by the small stuff? Whathappens when they have to face some big stuff?
A Personal Example
Here’s an example of what I am talking about. I had two almost identical situations occur recently to two different customers. Rental tuxedos were ordered for them for graduation. The company that our store gets the tuxedos from inadvertently sent them to the wrong location (oops!). However, the error was realized and the tuxedos arrived two days before the event, but that is two days later than they usually arrive.
I know this did cause concern for us and our customers as it gives us less time to correct any issues that may occur. Upon fitting, all but two were perfect. Two did need minor alterations that we can do quite quickly. One customer went with the flow and understood that stuff happens. He wasn't worried and knew that things would work out one way or another. The other’s mom was extremely upset and angry, and the son was also unhappy. They were convinced that things wouldn’t be resolved.
To make a long story short, the end result was the same for both young men: Their tuxes fit and were ready before they needed them. And they both looked great! The difference was that one was happy, and the other was very unhappy, even after the problem was solved. One carried on with life, and the other lived with a lot of stress for a couple of days (any maybe beyond). Same problem, same outcome, but very different reactions! I hope both young men had a fantastic time at their graduation events, but I suspect one had a much better time than the other.
In the words of author Richard Carlson, “So many people spend so much of their life energy sweating the small stuff that they completely lose touch with the magic and beauty of life.”
I guess what I have taken about 700 words to say is this: Stop and think before you react strongly to a situation. Teach your kids how to problem solve and look for solutions, change what they can and to accept and move on from what they can’t. They will be happier for it!
For more from Anne, visit Maternity Corner.