A few days ago, I decided to re-implement a little Love and Logic parenting with Gentry. Basically, the whole premise of this parenting idea is to help kids to understand the cause and effect logic of the real world.
For many, many long mornings I've been waking Gentry up at least three times before she decides to get out of bed. Kind of frustrating. Then I remembered my Love and Logic skills, which used to be pretty honed, but have been kind of forgotten lately. As I thought about it, I asked myself, "What is the result of a sixth grader not getting out of bed on time?" Then I answered myself, "The natural consequence is that she will be late for school." So, a few days ago I set up the guidelines. I would be waking Gentry up once. And I wished her (sincerely) the very best of luck getting ready and arriving at school on time.
The information I just shared will kind of set the stage for the bizarre thing Gentry experienced this morning. I live in a small rural neighborhood in the middle of a bigger city. The speed limit on our street is twenty-five. This morning, Gentry was struggling to get up, and in fact, she didn't get up until ten minutes before she was suppose to leave for school. Hmmmm….I pondered, "Whose problem is this". The Love and Logic response is, "Not mine". Gentry's school enforces consequences for tardiness, so thankfully, I don't have to. So, when we finally make it to the car, I am in no particular panic or hurry to get Gentry to school. As we set out, there was a white car directly in front of me traveling about eighteen miles per hour (in that twenty-five zone). Old me would have been bothered and quite annoyed on a school day when Gentry was late. But, yay for this Love and Logic parent, because there was no need to feel stressed . The white car in front of us soon slowed. I slowed. Then the car (kind of) pulled to the side of the road. I stopped. It pulled back onto the road and continued at an even slower pace and all the while I'm thinking, "This is so great to not be stressed out about this situation" and "Dang! I'm quite proud of myself for not going into road-rage mode". Then, suddenly, the car completely stops in the middle of the road, no signaling of intentions, just a dead stop. At this point I'm thinking, "This person must be texting or something and not even realize I'm behind them." So, I give a little tap of my horn (not the lay on it 'your aggravating me tap', but the 'hi, just want to make sure you see me tap'). No response, so I pull out from behind the car to pass it. As we are passing, the passenger rolls down her window. Gentry and I are suddenly met with the large, round, red, and very irate face of a women who spits out this lovely phrase, "Get off my #&$%@!!!" As my mouth drops, I can't help but do anything but laugh as Gentry and I just shake our heads and look at each other in confusion. As we continue on our way, I glanced at my clock (8:37). And then I thought, " What is going on in this women's life that by 8:37 she is already so angry and hateful?" I thought about my new year's resolution to look for the good in people. I have no idea was going on in this woman's life, what she's experienced, or how she views the world. My perception of life is clearly different than hers. Our experiences shape our perception, and I decided at that moment to give her the benefit of the doubt. I made a conscious choice not to become angry. I didn't want to judge this women. I actually felt sad for her. Walking around with that kind of anger seems like a really rough way to live. I'm trying to look for the good, and even trying to learn to love people like this women in the white car. Because at the end of the day, I wouldn't call her my enemy, but instead I recognize her as just another person probably trying to navigate this life in the best way she can. Aren't we all trying to do that really?