“You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat others.”
My parents told me that growing up. And I’ve tried to live with that statement at least somewhere in my mind for most of my adult life.
I’ve had difficult moments when I’m dealing with a bad customer service employee. Keeping my cool and continuing to treat someone with respect. Regardless of whether they’re treating me disrespectfully.
And I’ve failed too. No question about that. Sadly, there are days when I treat my own kids with less respect than I treat the cashier at the grocery store or the parking lot attendant.
Why IS that?
Why do we sometimes treat those we love with less respect than a total stranger or a mere acquaintance?
I’d like to say it’s one of life’s great mysteries, but I think I have an idea. And the reason lies in what I tell other people about their children.
“Why does my child behave so well in public, then fall apart at home? Why does my child do great in gymnastics class, but then cry all the way home? How can my child have a great day at school, but be a puddle all evening at home?”
And my answer is always, “because you are your child’s safe place. Home is where your child can let all of the anxiety and stress of the day roll off of him and sometimes you bear the brunt of it.”
I learned that from a wise preschool teacher.
It’s one of the less fun parts of parenting, but arguably one of the more important parts.
One of my children recently had a bad day at school. As she told me about it, she exclaimed, “I just wish there was a box I could crawl into when I’m tired of dealing with everyone and no one could reach me in that box! It could be my safe place.”
How wise. Don’t we all want something like that?
I told her, “you do have that box, honey. It’s called home. The place where we all love you and you are safe, no matter what. You’re safe to get out all of these nasty feelings that creep in during the day and we won’t judge you.”
And I believe that. I always have. Home is our safe place.
I guess my question (to be answered another day), is this:
If home is our safe place where we can let our emotions out and be safe from judgment and blame, how do we reconcile that with the sad truth that sometimes we don’t treat those we love the most with the same respect we treat others?
I want our home to be my family’s safe place. But I don’t want our home to have disrespect when its members are recovering from a long, and sometimes very difficult day.
Any thoughts on this? What do you do in your home to encourage respect while allowing home to be everyone’s safe emotional place?
linking up with Shell today