STOP THE HARSHNESS
Series: The Destructive Power of Self-Inflicted Pressure
Virtual school. Many parents, students and teachers are all too familiar with this new phenomenon My dear wife is on the front lines with my 2nd grader, Nolan, learning the ropes while teaching him. A week or two in, Shari (my wife) took some much needed time for herself as I took the kids for a day. I filled in as Nolan’s in-home substitute teacher. I got the first-hand experience of his successes and struggles. I found a great appreciation for our teachers and their superhuman levels of patience. There is a reason I am not a 2nd grade teacher. I felt my impatience bubbling up as Nolan got distracted and struggled to stay on task. The problems and subjects that don’t come as easy to him were even harder. I noticed the edge in my voice as I tried to stay calm. A problem that should take two minutes was taking 15 minutes… we are going to be at this all day!
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
What I noticed is that the more that frustration came through my voice, the less helpful it was to Nolan. The more harsh I was, the more he acted out and got frustrated with himself and the process. So, I took a deep breath, slowed down and thought of a funny, silly more engaging way to explain the next question in his school work. I watched as this took the pressure off. Letting go of my need to get this done quickly allowed Nolan to relax as well. He was laughing at my silliness and relieved at not being pushed so hard. It took a while to get through the school work, but we did it. “Way to go Nolan! Way to go Dad!”
Being more kind and patient to others is a beautiful gift, and it starts with doing this with ourselves. We are often so HARSH with ourselves. When we fail, are confused, lonely, hurting, or stuck we need kindness and empathy, not anger and disgust. What would it look like to practice this kind of kindness and empathy towards yourself?
Take the pressure off: by offering yourself more empathy and kindness instead of harshness