Several years ago my son and his daughter came to spend the afternoon with me. It was one of those days that screamed for ice cream.
Sitting in the booth at Dairy Queen, I watched as my granddaughter’s chubby two year old hand clutched her cone when suddenly the ice cream began dripping down the sides and over her fingers.
My son, in true fatherly- fashion, leaned over to lick a drip. Pulling her cone back, she quickly flicked up her other hand in front of his face and said,
“Just walk away, Daddy!”
Not being all together clear on what I had heard, a mixture of surprise and amusement blurted out of me.
"What did she say?” I questioned.
My son began chuckling and replied,
“She said, JUST WALK AWAY. They teach the kids to say that in
preschool when someone does something they don’t like. They raise their
hand and say just walk away in an attempt to avoid an argument. She has
learned this pretty well and has decided it works at home on us too.”
I couldn't stop thinking of the brilliance of what I had just learned from a 2 year old. I understand there are times in life when just walking away is not appropriate. We all have responsibilities and obligations that even when difficulties occur we can’t and shouldn't just walk away from. But, there are times in life when conflict can be avoided by just walking away.
How many times could we just walk away --even temporarily, to cool down, clear our thoughts and take a mental time out before tackling the problem?
Think of situations you have experienced that seemed worth and altercation at the time, but in hindsight were minor issues. Was it really worth complaining about? Was the scathing letter really worth writing? Were the words thrown in anger worth the damage they caused? Right now I am sure replays of regret are running through your mind.
Can YOU create a Just Walk Away Plan with your spouse, partner or family? Everyone involved must understand the terms of agreement and the physical code- when the hand goes up and the words, “Just Walk Away” are spoken it means the conversation will suspend and those involved will disengage.
When tempers cool, circumstances calm and the climate clears then come back together to revisit what happened. You may find the issue isn't important enough to talk about. You may find your children will avoid many sizzling sibling battles. You may find that even small messages can be communicated to save misunderstandings.
Here’s an example:
I am a morning person. Before my eyes open my mind is making a mental list of things I want to do, experience and talk about. I pop up smiling and excited to chatter about the day ahead.
My husband is a night owl. He prefers to sleep later than I do. His morning routine is quiet time, coffee and a period of acclimation to the day. Can you see the possibility for conflict here?
We have agreed to our Just Walk Away Plan. There are mornings when his hand goes up to my happily chattering face. I quickly realize he is not ready to hear everything that is buzzing in my head. Once the caffeine has distributed through his body and the morning adjustment time is complete he is thrilled to listen to my overwhelming enthusiasm.
When you adopt and accept this procedure you will be surprised at just how backing off for a while can create a calm space to re-calibrate the situation from a possible conflict into a positive communication experience. You will begin to assess situations quickly and the vision of a hand will go up in your mind’s eye warning you that this may be one of those occasions where it is best to Just Walk Away.
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Pennie's Life Lesson:
“There are times in life when the best option is to Just Walk Away.”
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