Recently I went to visit my 15 year old daughter, Holly, in Bowral NSW, for parents weekend midway into her 4 week school camp. It was the longest time away that the girls had from their parents – ever.
Watching the parents leave their girls at Melbourne airport was actually quite upsetting. The girls were really anxious, and some of them, visibly upset. Mine included. Watching them walk off to the gate (insert sad dramatic music and visualise it done in slow motion) was not easy. They were crying. We were crying. You can see it right?!
I then spent the next 12 hours (until they got to their destination) fragile and emotional. They on the other hand, so now I’m told, looked after each other, laughed, cracked gags and had a lovely time once they were out of our view.
We were invited to join our girls 2 weeks later in Bowral. I was excited to see Holly and nervous about seeing her emotional. But bless Ms Oro, the camp coordinator, coz she briefed the girls the night before. She said she didn’t want to see any ‘Kindergarten Kids’.
Ms Oro explained that Kindergarten Kids are those that cry at the gate when their parents drop them off and then see their friends, forget they were sad, and skip along into their activities forgetting about Mum and Dad until they see them again at the end of the day.
As adults I reckon we can pull a bit of Kindergarten behaviour. And I’m not talking just tears, although we can do that too. It’s when we unload our emotions on someone else, based on how we are feeling in the moment, and then walk away. Only to leave the person, who we downloaded on, left feeling wounded and unresolved.
Our reactions are just our own stress responses. I get that. But that’s not an excuse to put them all over others. I understand that others can treat us poorly but that will happen for the rest of our lives. How people treat you is a measure of their character. How you respond is a measure of yours. We have a choice about breaking the cycle. So let’s do that. Let’s be bigger than the situation. That’s super cool.
My good friend, author of ‘Creating a Customer Service Mindset’ and expert in serving others, Jaquie Scammel, always reminds me that joy is contagious. She’s a ripper example of this too. Jaqs says that; ‘As humans, we are social beings who are programmed to learn from others. (We have) neurons that allow us to literally feel what others are feeling and “live” their emotions. They are responsible for yawning when we see someone else yawn, or when we see someone sad or crying and in turn feel sad. The same thing happens with smiling or laughing. The way laughter can be contagious’.
So here’s our challenge. It’s time to put on our big girl and boys pants and talk things out. To speak our truth in a way the educates, not assassinates. To show people how to respond well. To tell people how we are feeling, not vomit our emotions over others. You hear me? Our feelings are not more important than others. Even if how they treated us resulted in our reaction. Tell them about that, in a way that builds trust and respect – don’t diminish it.
I’m happy to report that Holly did herself proud too. We had a fabulous day! I was the one that nearly ‘kindergartened’ her when I had to say goodbye. Ahhh the irony hey?!