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There wasn’t anything I could/would do about that, so I kept walked. He wasn’t going to walk anymore, but when I continued walking, he caught up. He wasn’t going to talk to me or listen, but when I refused to get drawn into his upset, he did. I just kept walking and told him, “You need to own your own upset.” In fact, we talked about the saying, “Misery loves company,” and I explained that when people are feeling bad they like to do things that make other people feel bad, too, so that they won’t be all alone. I explained that I wasn’t going to let him do that to me. “I choose to be in a good mood.” He chose to be upset.
And I was talking to him about how that was benefiting him (Did he enjoy being miserable? Would he consider choosing to embrace the reality that he had acted impulsively and he could learn to think more before he acted next time?) and guess what we found on the side of the road ? Another golf ball! So then we got to talk about how he had wasted his time and energy throwing the fit. And I explained that this happens a lot in life – where we get second chances, and one thing we try harder at next time is not reacting in a way we will only regret later. It was truly a teachable moment!
And that’s how I’m trying to look at situations like this – teachable moments. What can he learn from the situation that he’s ready to learn? What lesson do I want him to start learning now so he’s not learning it when he’s in his 30s?