One of my very favorite things about the state of our home is this: there is very little negativity, arguing, bickering, fighting, slamming doors, yelling, etc.
I’m not going to fib and say that we never get frustrated or lose patience with each other, but for some reason feelings like that in our house disappear as quickly as they start to arise.
I’ve always known that in my relationship with Ben, but I never really thought about this and how our kids behave until this morning.
Maya really wanted to leave on time today, around 6:45 am, so she could get back to her Dad’s to look for something before she headed to school. So, about 2 minutes before she wanted to be driving away from the house, she starts yelling up the stairs to Jonah…over and over and over and over again…to try and wake him up so they could get on the road.
Actually, 2 minutes before she was ready.
Now, in Jonah’s defense, she probably didn’t give him a heads up about this last night so he didn’t know to set his alarm clock to the time he’d need to get up and ready to be on her schedule.
And, in her defense, Jonah probably should’ve either asked what the plan for the morning was or set his clock to 6:30 am at the latest, regardless of what time Maya needed to leave.
There, even Steven with who I’m siding with.
Anyway, when Jonah finally got his little body downstairs, Maya honed in like a fruit fly on old banana peels.
“JONAH, ARE YOU READY? JONAH, ARE YOU READY? JONAH, ARE YOU READY? JONAH, ARE YOU READY? JONAH, ARE YOU READY? JONAH, ARE YOU READY? JONAH, ARE YOU READY? JONAH, ARE YOU READY?…”
“OMG, MAYA. YOU ARE THE WORST PERSON TO WAKE SOMEONE UP. I’M GETTING MY DAMN SHOES ON.”
Now, I know this sounds like they were getting mad at each other, but it was actually really funny and light-hearted. Picture Maya around the corner, Jonah not even in sight, and her just going all broken record on him while chuckling the entire time. And, Jonah laughing through the entire thing. And, all three of us cracking up at the whole scene for the entire 90 second stretch that it lasted.
As I wove goodbye to them while they pulled out of our driveway, it struck me that we are so lucky that they are not kids that fight and bicker about things all day…or, even just periodically. It’s sort of incredible, actually.
Now, maybe I’m just spacing out and thinking that they’re so good when, in reality, they’re at each other’s throats all the time. But, I don’t think I’m messing this one up.
Having said all of that, though, it would only be fair to admit that it’s not like they’re BFF’s and attached at the hip. They don’t really hang out with each other, or each other’s friends, or text each other all day like some siblings out there do. So, in all fairness, I think the likelihood of conflict increases when they spend more and more time together.
But, it’s like I tell Maya about college roommates: sometimes it’s better that you’re not best friends. Sometimes being “close”, but not “inseparable”, is the best situation possible.
Either way you look at it, negativity…in any form…whether it’s mild bickering all the time, real anger and hostility towards others, or random blow-ups over anything…creates an environment that is uncomfortable for anyone involved.
It sort of ties in with the idea of the Emotional Bank Account. Every time you experience or have one of those moments, it takes away from the quality of your relationships with people whether it’s your spouse/significant other, your kids, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors, or even employees at shops that you run into periodically.
Whether you have a good or fair reason to be upset with someone or not, reacting negatively like that has it’s repercussions. Sometimes it’s worth your relationships with other people taking a hit because you’re just that frustrated, but more often than not it’s just not worth the blowup.
And, I have to say, Jonah is one of the all-time best reactors to conflict in that way. Ask his Dad, or even Ben. In his 13 years of life, we could probably count on one hand how many times Jonah has lost his cool on anyone about anything that he’s faced. It’s, honest to God, one of the very best qualities he has.
It’s like his super-power: he deflects conflict like he has a special shield that it can’t permeate.
Jonah is the Conflict Deflector Superhero.