This week I’ve noticed, when having an agenda, my daughter, simply refuses to engage. Today, coming in from the grocery, I asked her to unload one of the bags. I’d taken her to lunch, bought her a sweet treat and driven her to a friend’s house so I thought asking her to unload one little bag would be a piece of cake. Well, the truth is, I felt like she owed me this one small little favor since I’d given so much earlier. Ahhhh…the agenda reveals itself.
Now you might be thinking, hey Leslie, you are just teaching her how to help out at home….or maybe you are thinking she is going to get the wrong message if I don’t require her to help out. And if you are, all of these thoughts run through my head as she growls and says she won’t unload the bag. I take a deep breath and try my big voice saying, “Meili, it is just one bag and I want you to unload it now.” Growling she starts emptying the bag but slams the goods on the table refusing to put them in the fridge.
I feel intense heat rising in my body, as I engage my trigger, seeing clearly my words are not producing the results I desire. I know, in my heart, what I’m about to say is NOT what I want to say but before I can stop out spews. “Alright then, I guess I won’t be taking you to lunch or getting you a treat anymore.” As those ugly words come tumbling out of my mouth, the dreaded blackmail move engages. As I look at my precious daughter I know this is NOT how I want to teach her to get support. Remembering, I’m the role model, I take a deep breath saying, “wow, what just came out of my mouth, isn’t what I really wanted to say.” What I wanted to say is, “I love you and I see you are in a big hurry to get out the door to your friends.” And the moment I open into a receptive place, including her agenda in the space, she looks at me and says, “I’m happy to help you, mom.” Ah, can it really be this easy? Only when I remember to stay open, taking responsibility for my agendas, knowing she is not here to serve them.
Practice: Become aware when you meet resistance in your child. When you do, ask yourself if your agenda is playing out, determined to defend and justify its position. See if you are willing to drop your agenda, open to receiving your child and then see what happens. Let me know what you find out!
Ms. Purejoy aka Leslie