Thursday, February 15, 2018

What If?

I might have mentioned before, (or I might not), that the kids and I, especially when they were very young, shared a rather incredibly tight biofeedback loop.  I found that when I became upset, even just internally, (assuming to myself that my emotions were smugly, if not stoically hidden), within seconds, whichever kids was the youngest would also be upset.  The whole thing was a bit of a bummer with respect to generally wanting the kids not to be upset, but also edifying in that we were so connected, and finally it was a very mindful sort of way to live in that I was offered constant reminders to calm myself the heck down.

As the years have progressed, the kids and I have lost some of the animal immediacy of our bond.  When one of us is upset, the other doesn't instantly fall to pieces anymore, but we do still feel each others general tone.  Now, instead of calling it biofeedback, I find myself calling it jangliness, and I can feel it in the kids every bit as much as they can sense it in me.  Sometimes, when I'm feeling more mindful, or when the stakes are higher, (like when we're on a crowded sidewalk), I'll mention the feeling to the gang.  I'll ask them to slow down and focus; to pay attention to where everyone else is around them before something happens.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes, they say 'OK!' just before they bounce into some innocent passer-by, completely confirming my original hunch.

It's this sense of jangliness that brings me to my point.  Lately I've felt it coming from No. 2, the local five year old, while we've just been hanging out at the house.  I can tell, I know, that within five minutes, he'll be in trouble.  So far, what I've done is to ask him to perhaps play something different, or play somewhere else, or to try to calm down.  It's mostly been to no avail; within a few minutes, he or one his sibs are howling in disappointment, or outraged hurt.

But, what if?  What if instead of asking 2 to take it easy I interjected myself in a constructive way instead?  What if I asked 2 what he was up to, and could I play?  What if I asked him to help me with what I was doing?  What if I asked him if he'd like to go for a walk, or what he wanted for dinner?  What if I used my foreknowledge to forestall the future?  I'll give it a try, and let you know!

Are you prescient about your gang?  What do you do with this future-sight?

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