I'm all about responsibility at my house. There is nothing more irritating than hearing the whine of "... he made me do it!" echoing in my ears. I am a woman on repeat telling my boys that unless your brother grabbed your already clenched fist and beaned his face with it, there is no getting out of it. I've gone as far as telling them to take a deep breath and counting slowly to ten, but really the advice is just for me.
Lately the quickest diffuser to a situation is to have a reminder session with the distraught boy. A nice calm question asking, who is in control, usually breaks the tension in a second. Sometimes I end up yelling it, but it gets the point across. No little boy wants to know he is being controlled by his brother. Seriously uncool.
After yet another dinner disaster where I roasted a whole chicken breast side down, having to recook it right side up resulting in a very late dinner at the Petersons, I had two very crabby boys on my hands. My boys live to eat. I find this funny because they are skinny bean poles and food goes in and out quicker than I can fix it. Food can't be late or there is a meltdown.
Due to my lack of cooking skill, the chicken was a tad tough and Brooks (my younger boy) began beating the dead bird with his fork and berating its intelligence. My totally awesome husband leans over to assess the situation and asks calmly:
"Brooks, who is in control? You? Or the Chicken?"
I know I shouldn't have, but I coughed. Well, it wasn't really a cough, it was a laugh I was trying to cover. I got this really great mental image of a perfectly roasted chicken with shackles and a whip dragging my son down to a goopy chicken broth torture pit. It was bad timing on my part. Brooks glared at his plate, threw down his fork and wailed in despair:
"THE CHICKEN IS IN CONTROL!!!"
Too often we forget who is in control. It's easier to blame our hurt feelings or our harsh reactions on someone else forgetting that we have every right to shrug off an offense and move on. Too often we overlook a person in need or give an excuse that it just not our problem to deal with. Too often we choose to be controlled even if it is just a dead chicken, the guy who cut you off in traffic, or the lady butting in line. Next time you get angry, take a deep breath, count to ten and ask yourself... who is in control?