The benefits of taking a moment before responding.
"I just want to watch You Tube".
This was the phrase uttered by my eldest as I was trying to organise us to get out to an activity for him, that he really enjoys. I was already a bit distracted, tense and irritable, with a lot rattling around in my head at the time. My response was not one of my finest as I heard myself retorted "well you can watch You Tube anytime, but I can't move this activity", and I left the room.
Not many years ago I would have delved head long into the emotion of this exchange. I would have stomped off fuming, embellished it with dialogue and retorts, and obsessed over worries and implications of the remark he made. However, these days I am consciously developing the skills of presence, awareness and connection. Even as I uttered the words I knew that my response had not only fallen way short of what I expect of myself, but also that it would most likely have create and enflamed a situation. Recognising that I had an emotional charge, I stepped away into the garden and took a moment to reflect.
I ran a quick scan of the emotions I was feeling. I considered why the emotions had erupted and what they were telling me. I also challenged my thinking about the "need" for him to attend today, his right to choose how he spends his time and that he alone knows what he is feeling and thinking. I finally noted that most of the issue was driven by my fear.
I calmed and steadied myself, focused on love and connection and went to apologise and chat to him. As I sat next to him and asked him about his You Tube videos it transpired that he was at the climax of a video series he had been watching, and in fact it only had a few more minutes to go, after which he would be happy to get ready and head off to his activity. True to his word, as soon as the video ended, he dashed off, got showered, dressed and ready to go. We arrived perfectly on time, both in happy places.
Now situations may not always be as easily resolved as this. I had already made peace with the fact that if he didn't feel like going to that activity that was totally fine. I truly believe though that taking a step away, having the presence to see my reactions and emotions for what they were, and then dealing with them, were critical components in the resolution. Coming also, from a place of love, connection and acceptance meant that whatever happened as regards the activity, our relationship was central and strengthened as a result of the interaction.