Saturday, February 28, 2009

Temper Tantrums and Revelations - Smith Meyer

It is amazing what you can learn about life in an emergency room! As we sat waiting our turn the other morning, a young mother came in the door with her 3-or so year-old in tow. When they went in to the triage nurse, Little Missy began to cry. It was evident immediately, this was no ordinary cry; ­it was pure and unadulterated objection.

The moment the thermometer appeared, the cry was revved up to angry screams accompanied with flailing limbs and writhing body. When she was set on the scales to be weighed, judging by the shrieks, you may have thought she was being cut open with a knife! I'm not sure we could have handled her reaction to a needle or other more painful procedure! It took both mother and nurse to try keeping her on long enough to get an approximate weight. I doubt if it was accurate. The moment the dastardly deed was done, Little Missy made a dash for the waiting room where she leaned back on an empty chair, hands on hips still emitting angry grunts. Then came the climax, her final grand statement­her bottom lip protruded farther than I think I've ever seen a lip protrude, in a defiant declaration of her insubordination! One could almost see steam billowing from her ears.

A few minutes later, her mother brought out the identification bracelet that you could tell by her expression she thought her daughter was going to like. But Little Missy was having no part of it! She was still far too busy asserting her right to resist. There was no doubt about who wanted to be boss. It was obvious that she was going to assert her will to the fullest.

Now one could surmise that past experience may have caused her to be fearful. There may have been trigger points causing her to expect that worse would follow. I smiled discreetly, but then I began to see some similarities to adult behavior I have witnessed. Haven't we seen people who have a desperate need to be in control? When they feel that control slipping away there are often inappropriate actions in a frantic effort to get it back.

There are also those resistant to something new or unfamiliar. Have you ever been present in meetings where someone with Little Missy's attitude protested, “But we've never done it that way!”­And there is no chance of changing their attitude no matter what. Who of us haven't seen people pouting and withdrawing from a group because a meeting or a decision didn't go their way There are always some who form quick decisions and object before they consider all the angles. Sometimes those quick conclusions make them miss what would have been to their benefit. Ouch!

All of a sudden I remembered that every time I point my finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at me! I may not have put on such a vivid display of my feelings as Little Missy, but how often have I missed out on something good because I put my energy into resistance? How often have I made a problem or complication more difficult by focusing on struggling against it rather than finding a way through? Maybe there is a bit of Little Missy in all of us.

Ruth Smith Meyer - Writing that inspires growing through knowing.

Smith Meyer has authored two books, Not Easily Broken and Not Far from the Tree.

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Well done, and well said, Ruth,
This piece recalls frustrating moments as a parent and as an observer of other 'kid-adult wars'!
But also calls us tp make the attitude check regarding our own propensity to behave in a childish manner.

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