This morning I was listening to my son scream and wail while playing games on the computer.
After my serene observations of my last post, of course. It was taxing, let me tell you. Especially when the other one took up wailing, too!
Frustration was rampant in this house this morning. (not much of my own, thank goodness.)
I did my best not to get worked up over it. But I was still at a loss. What I did was come into the room, and say "Did you call me, Trev?" Totally lame, I know, but I didn't want to offer help where none was asked for - I'd like for him to be able to get through such things on his own, without help from anyone else. I just felt so baffled and without tools!
I'm sure you can guess his reaction, something like "I can't win this game!", or "It won't let me ___", and so forth.
Again, uh..."Did you call me?"
"Will you help me find a different game?"
This went on for a couple of hours.
I had thought to find less competitive games, but really, we have lots. We have probably thirty children's cd roms, if not more. Hardly any are competitive.
Anyway, looked for a driving game for a while (non-competitive) but eventually got frustrated and denied, so excused myself for a bit. During that while, Trev got out one of his JumpStart cd's (love all of them) and played (without shouting!) for over two hours. Maddie napped during this time, and I had a chance to regroup.
I've got a lot of crap zipping and zapping in my head about issues relating to this.
How to teach (no - be an example for) empathy, and not be "sorry"?
"I'm sorry you're frustrated."
"This game is tough."
Being empathetic and sorry - which to me means "I wish this had not happened to you" is just what I do. I wish I could fix it. Launch someone past it. Take it, forge it into something acceptable, and hand it back again.
I read all the time that saying "sorry" to folks who are going through something undesirable is hardly helpful, and indeed, that it frustrates people.
I hear it, but I don't feel like I have anything else to offer. It's all I've got.
I don't believe it's strictly (though I'm sure I was) from being made to feel responsible for other's anger or frustrations as a child. I think even if that had not been my experience, I'd still feel partly responsible for others' woes.
I just had a thought.
I often think, while pondering my parenting style and skills, of how I could improve said skills (believing in the philosophy of Conversations With God) by supposing that "If I were having this problem, or conversation with God, what would His answer be? How would She best help me?"
When I ask myself this question, I believe my conversation would go something like this:
God: "Need someone to talk to?"
Me: "This sucks. I can't do anything right."
God: "You imagine Yourself to be in a pickle?"
Me: (sigh.) "I've got these blocks, and can't seem to get past this certain thing."
God: "Do you want to get past it?"
Me: "I think so...., don't I?" (knowing that every experience is a part of my path and finding Truth.)
God: "That's for You to decide. Is it important to you?"
Me: "Oh, yes! I want to be a good mother."
God: "What would you like to happen?"
Me: "I'd like to discuss this with someone who understands me, and knows me, and who won't judge me, and who has wisdom and experience with this sort of thing."
God: "I'm a good listener."
Me: "I spose so. Well, then.... why I can't just Be whom I long to be, and why do I have to make these same stupid mistakes?"
God: "I'll remind you that there is no such thing as a mistake. 'Mistake' is a judgment."
Me: "Well, my imperfections, then."
God: "You are not imperfect. That too is your judgment."
God: "I am happy to help with anything that I can. Anytime that I am able."
Me: "But will I understand your wisdom? I'm pretty dense sometimes."
God: "I'll send it to you in a thousand ways. Through a thousand hands. You just have to watch, and be still, and listen."
As it turns out, this particular episode ends in "Here come some of them, now...."
So while being an observer and a participant in this conversation, I can see where "I'm sorry" just doesn't cut it. It's of no help.
Helping me is aiding me in the understanding of myself, and the world around me.
Can be a wise word given when requested, or a sympathetic ear to listen without judging.
Sometimes it can be done by showing me a different and more efficient way of doing things.
And it's not in the removal of my own personal challenges, but helping me to discover that I carry the tools I need to be victorious over them.
Huh. Imagine that.