Drama Doesn’t Make An Appointment (Episode 190)
Do you adjust to the world or do you demand that the world adjust to you?
Crazy enough, everyone isn’t just sitting around waiting to cater to your needs.
And, unfortunately, drama doesn’t always make an appointment to show up in our lives.
So how do you deal with it? When do you flow and adapt, and when do you stand your ground?
Behind The Scenes
With social media, you may be following that “perfect” family - every picture is gorgeous, and it seems like they just have the perfect life.
The truth is this. Is it all of their life? 100% no. Let’s get real about it here. What would you choose to put on social media? You leaning over the toilet throwing up on a sick day, or you all dolled up looking and feeling great?
Recognize that, oftentimes on social media, the pictures that go on are the pictures we choose to revisit. It’s the times in our lives we want to talk about, memorialize, and appreciate the good in. I personally don’t care to memorialize the drama and negativity in my life. Even on the posts I do where “adventures go awry,” you’ll notice they are so often wrapped up in gratitude on how we were able to remain safe, together, etc.
The truth of the matter is this - social media, for me, is not in real-time.
My LIFE is in real-time.
What is posted on social media is hindsight - the things I choose to go back to. Yes, there are people who live life in real time on social media. And those people tend to also show all the ups and downs of drama as they live life with you following along. That drama can suck you in as you see someone else being human and not always making the best choices for themselves - think about all the reality shows, and how many people watch just to see how much of a spectacle the person will make out of themselves in the next episode.
Drama can sell. Drama can be entertaining. Drama can drag you down.
Dealing with Drama
When we break down, literally, what do we do? For our family, this is our model:
- ASSESS - We first assess the situation. We just flat look at the reality of what is going on, simply observing what is. This isn’t freaking out about why - we aren’t discussing whether or not the situation is fair, warranted, or anything else. What is, is.
- ASSIGN - Then we assign roles - who can step up to do what? Is this an “all hands on deck” situation or time for kids to sit back and stay out of the way? Again, this isn’t a time for tip-toeing around people’s feelings - we are looking at a situation and how we can divide and conquer to move through it. Everyone steps it up to be ready to play their part, just like a football team assigns different roles for its players before they make a touchdown.
- REFLECT - this is a critical one we make sure to add - to reflect back on what happened. What went well? What could we do better next time? And what am I grateful for that came out of the experience?
How Do We Adapt?
In the podcast episode, Nathan shares his story of kayaking with our daughter Clara, who was about 3 at the time. They went out on a special Daddy/Daughter date while I was home with new baby sister, and they had quite the adventure.
The quick synopsis is that their kayak got caught in a tree and capsized, and Nathan lost Clara under the water for a few seconds.
Knowing our daughter and how black and white and analytical she was, he knew this was a make-or-break situation where this could have traumatized her around water moving forward. So he had to look at how to naturally adapt his own gut reaction to work in their favor; to pivot this experience to be something exciting vs. terrifying.
Here was this little girl who had just been dragged under by the current, her Daddy had to go back to grab a kayak, her Mommy wasn’t there, and she was freaking out. Nathan got back and had to figure out what in the world to do to shift this situation. So he went to what they did have control of - their attitude.
He sat with her and acknowledged it was scary and the feelings they were feeling...and then he immediately shifted to gratitude. “Oh my gosh, we were both so brave in that situation. That was scary. It was scary for me. I know it was scary for you now. Let's just take a minute to think about how powerful that is, that we got through that.”
There are times it can be hard as a parent to be able to catch yourself in the moment and remember it’s not just about us managing our reaction for ourselves, but recognizing we are the pillar our children are leaning on. When we shake, they do as well.
Shifting the Story
That story above ended with Nathan and Clara coming home, Clara barging in, so excited to share with me her big adventure story, acting out with Nathan exactly what happened and how they got through it.
Her focus was not on the fear. It was the pride of what they went through and experienced together.
It's Not "Okay"
A default reaction may not be to sit with the emotions of a moment and all that drama can bring. Maybe your default is to “fix” it with a “you’re okay.”
We hear that the best thing a man can say is “I’ve got this.” Yet I challenge that. I’m not looking for a man to take over my emotions for me and handle them so I don’t have to. I don’t agree with just rushing in to a child - or adult - and saying “you’re okay.” That’s not your right to decide.
Relinquishing control and being told everything will be okay is not equipping another to navigate and manage what really IS in their control.
In Nathan’s story above, he couldn’t have told Clara he was in control the whole time. The truth was, he didn’t have control, either. As a parent, that's your good knee junk knee jerk reaction - to run up and say, it's okay, I've got it. It's fine. But the reality is that oftentimes they know the truth. They know you aren’t in control of it all - the weather, other people…
I think it is valuable to allow your kids to see the humanness in you as you adjust to the flow of that river of life.
It was a big deal that Nathan sat with Clara and just acknowledged it was scary. We want to allow our emotions to process through without stifling them. When we push them down, eventually they tend to bubble up to the surface. But sitting with our emotions doesn’t mean they have to take us over. That is then our opportunity to take what we want from it and choose to move forward. It’s our opportunity to “flip the script” and write a new story of what we learned and are grateful for.
Remember What Is Really In Your Control
We can’t control or go back and reverse what has happened. We can simply assess the situation as it is in the present moment, and determine what we want to do moving forward.
Even with the best of plans, curveballs happen. There will be times we are caught unprepared. Like Nathan stressed, drama doesn’t make an appointment!
There are going to be times that it just happens. You aren't ready. Your ability to flow with the drama is critical - it impacts more than just you. Especially as parents, your children are looking to you as their baseline for how to handle any drama in their own lives. And I promise you, if you’re wearing that badge of drama-attraction, you’re inviting your children to do the same.
Think long and hard about just telling your children or anyone else, “you’re okay.” I challenge you to rethink that, and whether or not it's really equipping them for emotional resilience. If you are the one determining whether or not they are okay, what happens when you aren’t around? Who tells them to be okay?
How can you encourage and support your family in a way that empowers them to own their own emotions?
How can you “flip the script” on the drama and look for the lesson learned and what you’re grateful for?
How can you foster more of a growth mindset in your home to navigate the ups and downs of life?
Drama is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to take you down. We want to build up emotional resilience in ourselves and our children to be able to navigate life in a way where we aren’t a victim of circumstance, but are truly seeing how we can learn, grow, and celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste
Dig Deeper with These Posts and Episodes:
- Get the Free Family Vision Email Series Here
- My Soul Is Crying For Change (Episode 188)
- Curious about taking your own family adventure in an RV? Check out all the goodness here
- When Adventures Go Awry (Episode 51)
- Adventure is a Mindset (Episode 52)
- What are your behavior defaults, and those of others in your home?
- What Is A DISC Personality Assessment?
- What Is Your Goal?
- Coaching with Ashley