Saturday, February 24, 2007

A different kind of phone call

Odd title for a post I know. How could you possibly know the anxiety I have every time the phone rings when my son is not around. There is normal variety of anxiety that every parent has about something terrible happening to their children. I have to bear that and the anxiety that the phone call is going to be about something my son has done to himself or others. His choices in the past have not been stellar.

This week I received a phone call from our Assistant Principal. Brandon was in the office. My heart plummeted as though pulled infinitesimally deeper and faster into the blackhole it is already in. What did he manage to do now?

Well, it seems I'm a bit more pessimistic that I ought to be. That is not likely to change soon, but at least there was a little more reassurance on the other end. Brandon was choked by another student. He was not seriously hurt the Assistant Principal assured me, and had been checked out by the nurse. I was still waiting for the explanation, wondering if my son was to be suspended or punished. The Principal said he was in PE and collided with another student. That student had an anger moment and grabbed Brandon by the neck. It was an accident, and Brandon was not at fault. Honestly, my mind is a bit befuddled because Brandon is almost always to blame in some way. She was very apologetic about the incident and wanted me to know that they would be speaking with the other student's parents.

My son and I had just had a talk the night before about people whose anger sometimes leads them to do dumb things. A person had rocketed out of a parking space, and recklessly took off in the parking lot. My son was a bit shocked, and voiced that concern. I told him we always need to be on the lookout for people that probably aren't thinking all that well and possibly emotionally charged. We just don't know what they may do or how they will react. I was thinking more in terms of driving day to day, but he got a little taste of that in school.

Later that evening when I picked up Brandon from daycare, he explained to me that he pleaded with the principal on the student's behalf not to suspend that student. He also told me he taught the student and the Principal the 'I' statement. He and I both learned this last year in his counseling. It goes like this:
"I feel (hurt, angry, upset, etc) when you do (action). It would help me if you would (alternative action) instead."

Emotions are very powerful forces in our lives. How often can we create an 'I' statement in the midst of the most powerful ones? I don't know. I have a hard time doing it. So do most other people I know. It is so important to feel, and the 'I' statement can let others know HOW and WHAT you feel and what they can do to help. They honestly may not be able to tell any other way. Expressions, body language, and tones may not be enough to clue others in, so help them help you. See if you can pinpoint WHAT it is that you really feel and let people know.

~~ :-) ~~

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