| from Dr. Kathy Koch |
Not getting angry is beautiful and helps us look beautiful. I need to remember this. Maybe you do, too?
I recently flew down-and-back in a day to Jacksonville, FL, to attend a significant birthday celebration for our Executive Director’s oldest daughter. I’ve gotten to know John’s wife and four children in the past 18 months and they’re important to me. Putting people first is right and it was a joy to celebrate Maddy.
I arrived to a buzz of activity as the family and friends were still getting the room ready. Many things had been placed on a counter that John was now clearing off so food could be displayed. He kindly asked Charlotte, his youngest daughter, to move two umbrellas that were on the floor. Earlier, they weren’t in his way. Now they were.
Charlotte quickly came over, grabbed the umbrellas with both hands, and then gripped them to her chest so she wouldn’t drop them. She walked about four feet and placed them back on the floor.
In her mind, she had done what she had been asked to do. She moved the umbrellas. They were now further from her dad so it appeared that they weren’t in his way.
Of course, Charlotte couldn’t read John’s mind. She didn’t know her parents would soon use the entire area for something else. John knew they were still in the wrong place. She didn’t.
John’s thinking process was now almost visible. He caught my eye and we both smiled. We knew she had not been willfully disobedient. Maybe he thought about voicing his displeasure, but he caught himself. It was a beautiful other-centered moment of humility.
With a welcoming tone of voice, John asked Charlotte to come back and move the umbrellas to another room. He realized he hadn’t been clear. He owned the communication confusion rather than making her feel bad or stupid. Now she looked beautiful, too. She quickly moved the umbrellas and then returned to her friends.
For us to regularly own our part of problems, we need to believe some things about ourselves and others. For example:
- We must believe we’re capable of being unclear, making mistakes, and the like.
- We must be willing to act on this belief even when others will know we’ve made a mistake.
- We need to avoid using “You could have….” and “You should have known…” type statements.
- We can use “I’m sorry ….” and “Please forgive me…” and “It’s not your fault …” type statements when the situation warrants them. This dad didn’t and that’s fine. He didn’t need to point out that he had done something wrong. She wasn’t upset or confused and he had done nothing intentionally wrong.
- We must believe others don’t always want to irritate us intentionally. Sometimes they do! Sometimes children choose disobedience. They don’t always. Giving children (and adults) the benefit of the doubt is appropriate. Looking for what’s good honors others.
What would you add to this list?
Let’s pay attention to our thinking process this week. It may help us look beautiful.
Dr. Kathy Koch (“cook”), is the founder and president of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas. She has influenced thousands of parents, teachers, and children in 30 countries through keynote messages, seminars, chapels, banquet talks, and other events. She is a regular speaker for Care Net, Summit Ministries, and Axis. She also speaks for other organizations, churches, schools, and pregnancy resource centers. In addition, she hosts Celebrate Kids conferences through their Ignite the Family conference division. She is also a popular guest on Focus on the Family radio, she was featured in Kirk Cameron’s movie, Connect, and she has written and published five books with Moody Publishers, including Five to Thrive, Start with the Heart, Screens and Teens, 8 Great Smarts, and No More Perfect Kids (with Jill Savage). Dr. Kathy earned a Ph.D. in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University.