By Tash Majenta
Today I made my son lick his brother’s feet. If you’re wondering what madness has taken hold of me, well I’ll explain.
I discovered many years ago that if I could use the distraction method combined with cause and effect, it brought laughter to the situation, but also still acknowledging that the behavior was unacceptable and the punishment was fitting (generally). As I am the mother of four kids I have had many years to learn some tricks.
My boys aged 9 and 11 had been running around having fun until Ash upset Sabian by taking some of the money they had been jointly saving for iPads. Ash, the 9 year old, ran off with Sabian in hot pursuit, armed with a rubber snake. Ash, finally cornered, was then ‘branded’ on his thigh with the whip of the rubber snake. Ash came running to me, tears steaming down his little face. An angry red welt proved Sabian’s crime.
“Sabian, come in here right now!”
Now Sabian would have been expecting the usual response from me in regards to his behavior… you know the one. The lecture on how physical violence is unacceptable behavior and how I’m going to take away a privilege.
Why do this when it never works? It doesn’t stop the behavior, it doesn’t change anything. It just makes Sabian more resentful towards Ash as he feels that Ash deserved to get hit, whipped, thumped, pinched, punched or hair pulled. Grrr would be my usual response but it achieves nothing.
“Ash, have you washed your feet today?”
“Oh well, they’ll have to do. Sabian, lick your brother’s feet.”
This snapped them both to attention. I continued…
“You hurt Ash so you need to lick his feet. This is the consequence for your actions.”
I figured that Sabian had played dirty, so the punishment had to fit the crime.
They were both laughing, (Ash through his tears). Sabian licked Ash’s feet, which by the way, Ash was very happy to present. I then asked…
“Do you feel better now, Ash?”
“Would you like Sabian to lick the other foot?”
This brought more laughter. And another lick.
It’s amazing how some simple changes can make a difference to the degree of difficulty and frustration we experience when faced with life challenges. These challenges are just that- ‘challenges’. We sometimes label them as problems, difficulties, unfairness and being unlucky. But really? Is that why we face these challenges? Is it possible that challenges sometimes present merely to direct us to a better way of approaching a situation?
If we stop long enough to realize that we keep experiencing the same challenges over and over and over, and ask why, we might realize something so simple but so profound. It’s not really about the…
‘WHY does this keep happening to me?’
It’s about the ‘WHY have I not changed the way I deal with the challenge?’
Why do these same life challenges keep presenting? Is it possible that we just haven’t learned the lesson yet?
I’d like to tell you that this solved the problem of my boys fighting. Of course not! But later in the evening when another incident occurred, I used this same method and it brought laughter again. They had just been enjoying the effects of a huge sparkler bomb and it was now burning on the ground. I suggested they put it out by weeing on it. This method of extinguishing a fire always appeals to boys. While putting out the fire, Sabian realized a stream of pee was being directed his way. Ash got another thumping.
Sabian ran inside. I followed a minute later.
“Sabian have you washed your foot that Ash peed on?”
“Oh well it will have to do. Ash has to lick your foot for peeing on you.” This brought lots of laughter until I announced the next part of the punishment.
“Oh, and Sabian, you need to lick Ash’s foot for thumping him and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t washed his feet yet.”
Needless to say, they called a trues!
I was talking to a friend recently about some challenges she was experiencing. I had been hearing about the challenges for years. Nothing had changed. I simply said, ‘So why do you keep dealing with the challenge the same way each time if nothing changes? If it didn’t work the first time or the second time or every other time, then STOP! STOP doing the same thing over and over and expecting something to change.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein was a very wise man indeed. I’m sure he would have enjoyed my unorthodox methods.
My friend and I then discussed some strategies. Some of these were used that evening and my friend reported some shifts.
Many people will read this article and be saying ‘I knew that’. A lot of what I have learned and discovered through life challenges are simply logic. But it’s so important to be reminded of what we already know or wish we had already known.
So next time the same challenge keeps presenting in our lives, it helps to stop and ask ourselves if we need to STOP! STOP repeating the same reaction to the challenge. If it didn’t work up till now, it probably never will. The challenge is in our thinking.
A conscious decision to change my thinking has reminded me to dig up all those life lessons I have learned and begin to put them back into action. I have spent a lot of time up until now getting bogged down in seeing life challenges as problems. Once I stopped reacting to them in the same ways over and over and over and getting the same ineffective results I finally moved into a different space.
It’s not so much about giving up being you to gain success in life. It’s about being a new improved version of yourself, drawing on already learned life-lessons or new life lessons in the quest to find new ways of dealing with challenges and new ways of viewing those challenges. I am looking at myself as a success story because I have finally learned how to apply what I already knew to my life. I have participated in two intensive self-development programs. They were both beneficial but I quickly forgot to keep applying what had been learned. If you don’t practice a skill regularly, you lose that skill to a degree.
My nephew who also participated in a self-development forum, used a new skill on a bully. He had been harassed by this bully for some time. Every morning the bully would grab my nephew’s school bag and throw it onto the road while waiting for the school bus to arrive. Usually my nephew would get angry. After returning from Melbourne where he had participated in the program, he decided to stop reacting in the same way he always had and apply a new method he had learned whist at the forum.
“Thank you for paying so much attention to me.”
That was all he said. The bully was shocked. He didn’t know how to react so he said nothing and never threw my nephew’s bag again. Instead they actually became friends. Funny how things can change so dramatically just by a simple adjustment in strategy.
I am now committed to regularly reading and listening to positive material that assists in my new way of living. I have seen the benefits in a short time. Some of these changes have been instantaneous… CAUSE AND EFFECT. I’m so glad it didn’t take me having to lick someone’s dirty feet to realize it. As a result of this shift in my patterns of thoughts and actions, I feel happier. I feel optimistic and my children are definitely benefiting from these changes. I am letting go of old ways that didn’t work for me the first time, second time and every time after that. I am ready to finally reach my full potential. I am giving up my resentment towards people who have hurt me as I have decided to take back my power. I am finally in control of my happiness.
What about you? What areas in your life need to change so you can get off the merry-go-round, getting nowhere fast?
For more fun blogs, visit me at my site http://tashjusttash.com 🙂