Posts Tagged ‘negative’

I am archaic, but I am thankful that I am an archaic, aging woman, and not an archaic, aging man.

Recently I have encountered a number of men, who are of the age of fifty’ish, who are … negative, opinionated, stubborn and … grumpy! There have been enough of them that I have started to view every man who appears to be about that age, with the belief that he needs to be avoided at all costs.

In each of the situations of grumpy men, there would appear to be no outward reason for their poor attitudes.

They all have jobs, and solid, secure jobs at that. They would all appear to have healthy, intact, families. They would all appear to have, what most of us would deem, a good life.

I am not sure that they are recognizing their ‘good life’ as good.

Every time that I have encountered one of these ‘gentlemen’ I walk (quickly) away thinking, is there something horrible going on in their life that I know nothing of, or are they simply focusing so much on what they are missing out on that they cannot see what they have?

Now these guys who I am thinking of are not simply guys who are having an ‘off’ day. They are grumpy on a consistent, regular basis. If they were a Sesame Street character they would all be Oscar the Grouch.

John Barrymore said that “a man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” Maybe this is what has happened to these men, and the women of equal grumpiness. Maybe they are entering the second half of life burdened with the regrets of things they did, or did not do, in the first half.

Or maybe, T.S. Eliot’s belief is true, “I don’t believe one grows older.  I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.” If this is the reality for the grumpy, unhappy, negative, hopeless men and women in our lives, that is a most heartbreaking thing. To have the gift of life in our hands (our feet, our brain, our heart).

It makes me want to live differently. It makes me want to live with hope, continue to dream, and greet each day as the gift that it is, with all of the opportunities and possibilities that were there twenty years ago. The blessing of being ‘middle aged’ is that I can awaken each day with the same possibilities as when I was younger, but now I do so with the added benefit of experience and wisdom (well, experience at least 😉 ).

“They will bear fruit even when old and gray;
they will remain lush and fresh”
Psalm 92:14


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The other day I became a mother, all over again, and , although a physical labor was not involved (thank goodness) it was energy draining.

The child who I ‘mothered’ is not my own, by DNA or adoption, she is our ‘daughter from another mother’ who has entrusted her to us while she (and her brother) lives here in Canada, and I love her dearly.

One of my ‘own’ daughters told me recently that I do show love to this girl and her brother. She even said that I love them like a mother. She also said I do not discipline them like a loving mother … ouch! Thankfully, she said it all kindly, and so, for a few weeks, I have been mulling our conversation over in my mind.

It is tough to discipline someone who is not your own child. It is more difficult to set boundaries. We do not have a long foundation of relationship. We do not have a foundation of expectations. We do not have a past of being loved before and after discipline. As I have considered the wise words of my daughter, I have been keenly aware that IF I do love this girl, boundaries and correction are necessary expressions of that love.

Correction, or discipline, is a means of making a child aware of not just positive consequences in life, but negative ones as well. I believe that by disciplining small things (ie. requiring a child to apologize to a sibling when they have been mean or rude, or having them pick up every last piece of building blocks that they dumped on the floor when having a temper tantrum), when a child is young, creates a distaste for negative consequences and therefore instills a desire to do what is right, and good as they mature and grow. To not correct or discipline is to force a child to face negative consequences of greater magnitude when they get older (being expelled from school, being arrested).

The Bible speaks significantly of the wisdom of discipline:

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 21:1

“He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.” Proverbs 15:32

“Discipline your son (daughter), for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” Proverbs 19:18

“A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.” Proverbs 15:5

Recently, a teacher at the school I work, shared a true story, told to him by his daughter:
While waiting in a long lineup at a large store, a woman was hit by the large cart behind her. She smiled politely, to allow the cart handler, a child, know that she felt it. She turned back, and was hit again … and again … and again. The hit upon lady turned to the child and said, “please do not push your cart.” She again turned back, and was, again, hit by the cart. This time she turned to the mother, as others were watching, as said, ” could you please have your child stop pushing the cart, it is hitting me.” To which the mother replied, “I do not believe in giving my child boundaries.”
At this point, you can imagine the heads of spectators, looking towards the woman, looking towards the mother, and back and forth, waiting with bated breath to see what might happen next. Probably many with thoughts of “if I was that woman …”
As all of this was happening one spectator, a man, was nearby, taking in the whole situation, while drinking a yogurt drink. He slowly, leisurely walked over to the child, and poured some of his drink on top of the child’s head. He then poured some on the top of the speechless mother’s head. The mother was aghast! The man looked at her and said, “my mother never believed in teaching me boundaries either.”
The crowd erupted into applause! The mother and child quickly exited the store.

I wish I had been there.

To love is to set boundaries, to correct and to discipline. It is not the easy thing to do, but it is a  most positive and long lasting way to enrich the lives of our children (by birth or circumstance), and to show them that we love them. My daughter by another mother may never thank me for setting boundaries, and correcting her behavior, but I feel certain that it was an act of love on my part.

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