Driving with kids, as covered in the “Always drive on high alert” article, can be challenging to say the least. And its at these times that I usually find myself being worked up into a foaming flurry of rage and angst.
It was during one of these “moments” that I took a step back and looked around the car. Don’t be reading into this too much, it wasn’t an out of body experience, nor an NDE (Near Death Experience) brought on by careless driving. In fact it most likely had no religious connection what so ever.
Instead it was more of a moment akin to sudden realisation, not that it was so profound that I changed my world view, as a general rule I’d like to think that I step back and assess before flying off the handle or making rash decisions. But hey I’m not perfect, far from it in fact.
What does Step Back Mean?
For me, writing for this site has given me pause to think and assess my own action/reactions and come to some conclusions about my behaviors. In essence I’ve been able to step back and look at how I react to situations and draw from my own experience and analysis to correct the current ones I find myself in.
I’m not sure that makes any sense, but I’ll try to clarify more.
Writing stuff down seems to help, maybe not starting a self righteous journal, or taking a million selfies. But perhaps identifying challenges in your day to day and creating solutions in writing. In fact this website seems to almost be a cathartic space for me to do just that.
Hopefully it helps others from my own inexperiences.
I find by having written “Always drive on high alert” I’ve been able to better manage long car trips. I always attempt to put together an Emergency Kit, and find that I expect more boredom from the kids, which results in more fights and more noise.
Ever so slowly I’m finding myself step back, take a look at why things are happening, seeing what I can do to correct/negate them and move first. If this sounds familiar it just another version of the OODA loop ( Observe, Orient, Decide, Act).
However this is not always a perfect means to an end, while cooking pancakes for instance! 2 kids hanging off my ill-fitting, loosely tied pajama pants that are threatening to fall to the floor at the breath of a slight wind. The pancakes meanwhile are in the last throws of life and are about to burst into flames like a hollywood falling car.
GET TO THE CHOPPER!
All Bets Are Off.
Sometimes all bets are off, nothing can stop the escalation, the best you can ask for is a level head and some volume of reason.
An important thing to understand, I think is that; they’re kids, they do kid things, they challenge you, push boundaries, and try to push your buttons. Sometimes they’re being little $#!7’s, but mostly they’re just learning how far they can take it, what their boundaries are. This is how they discover what being human is and how they develop into adult humans who inhabit a society.
Its up to mum and dad to define those boundaries, guide and lead by example. If you lose your mind, throw tantrums, and huff a lot, it’s likely that they will emulate that behaviour.
But yes sometimes they are just being little $#!7’s.
Easier Said Than Done.
Yeah it is easier said than done, but hey isn’t everything; tell someone how to bake a cake, it’ll take about 2 minutes, maybe less. In you’re minds eye the cake’s done and it’s delicious. But, from experience, the real deal takes about 1 hour, and when done it has a bubble in the middle with a fault line running down the centre, the inside is still liquid while the outside is rock hard.
But not always.
Those “not always” moments enable you to break apart the cake baking process and do it better the next time. The common occurrence of the bungled cake starts to become the rare occasion.
It’s also those times that the cake is nearly perfect that guide your minds eye and your directing someone else to do it nearly perfectly.
Think of this analogy and apply it to the day your little ones are going nuts, use the days that are nearly perfect, find out through analysis, what it was that made that a “good day”, did they behave, did they have fun, did they learn something, did you learn something? And then try to replicate, but always make small adjustments as no day will ever be the same as another.
The “Did you learn something” statement is the important one, I think, in that you will develop your own parenting skills by looking at your own behaviour. Those lessons will help guide future encounters.
The OODA Loop is God.
Try to always: Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. The quicker you do this the quicker the situation has direction and a possible solution. If the action you take doesn’t result in success (whatever that looks like) then do it again, and again if needed. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, or person, but you can work towards being a better human.
Remember what you did, write it down, and learn from your successes by continuing to apply solutions.
See you next time.
Special thanks to The Art of Manliness.