Bobby McFerrin “Don’t worry, be happy”
One would expect that teenage years are the years in which we, as children, have the most problems. Now that I am a mother that is still pretty far away from my mouse’s teenage years, I can say that so far almost each week (maybe even day) had its own problems we needed to learn how to deal with.
The art of coping with problems of our adulthood has its origins in our childhood. The key is in being able to see the problems as what they truly are. One approach might be to dissect them into smaller problems, simplify them and solve those little problems. A few small problems’ solutions might actually give the right solution to the original problem. The trick is not to simplify things too much and to keep in mind the bigger picture. Also, sometimes we need to let our heart speak. Not this time though. In what I will write about today, we need rationalization.
My mouse was at his granny’s playing with his cousins. It was night and about time for him to come home. We all share the same yard so it wasn’t any trouble for my dad to bring him to me once he started crying. Mouse was pretty upset by a monster his 3 years older cousin saw. I never heard him cry over a monster so this situation was pretty serious. My dad sketched me what happened so I had something to work with. I took mouse in my hands and tried to calm him down with gentle words. Once I assessed he is ready, I started dissecting his problem.
“Tell me, mouse, what happened?”
“A. saw a monster outside granny’s house and he ran into the house leaving the front door open. Monster could get in and take me. Mommy I am afraid of that monster.”
“Is it possible that A. was just messing with you, that he invented the monster to scare you?”
“No mum, he really saw it.”
“Hm…let me see if I understood correctly. A. was outside, he saw a monster and ran into the house to warn you?”
“You got scared. Was he scared too?”
“I just saw him and he was smiling. Why is that? I mean, you are this much afraid and he seems pretty cheerful.”
“I don’t know.”
“OK. Lets move on. If he saw the monster, why didn’t the monster see him?”
“Oh, the monster didn’t see him.”
“Hmmmm, how can that monster catch anyone if it cannot see?”
“It has a good sense of smell.”
“So, that monster could had smelled A. and caught him. Why didn’t it catch him?”
“It is a slow monster mum.”
“A monster that doesn’t see, has a good sense of smell and runs slower than A. doesn’t seem that scary.”
Mouse giggled in confusion for a moment but then fear got its hold of him again.
“Mum, that monster was really scary and it almost caught A. He ran into the house in the last second.”
“If he was so afraid of the monster, why did he leave the door open? Wouldn’t you close the door to stop the monster from entering?”
“I don’t know.”
“It seems to me he invented the monster and left the door open so he can scare you even more.”
“No mum, the monster was real.”
I repeated all the facts about A.’s behavior and monster’s skills. Mouse agreed with the facts but he was still afraid and refused to believe A. invented the monster story.
“Well, you know all the facts now. You can choose how to feel about what happened: you can see it as A.’s prank or as the reality. “
He chose to consider the monster story to be real. Even though I continuously work on problem solving approaches, this time I didn’t succeed in rationalizing his problem. Nonetheless, I affirmed the path for him to become a person that questions things around him and uses reasoning to solve his problems.
Too bad not all of the problems can be solved in this way. Sometimes mind needs to shut up and let the heart speak. These lessons will be much harder for me to pass on because I do not understand them either. When my mind is helpless, my heart tends to go into hibernation.