driving to school the past few mornings we pass an older gentlemen walking his two Chihuahuas in the cutest pink sweaters you have ever seen. we "ooh! and "ahhh!" but this morning a larger dog was walking his owner next to them and there was a cyclone of pink barking and bouncing up and down and back and forth and putting on a hilarious show. my daughter asked, "why is it it's always the little dogs that freak out so much like that? the bigger dog isn't even moving!" and I took a moment to use this as an object lesson.
I love object lessons!
I asked her "why do you think the larger dog doesn't bark or move?". "well, because he could eat them up in one bite" she answered. I then asked, "what do you think the little dogs are feeling, that would make them jump and bark like that?" she thought for awhile and answered the answer of what is the root to almost every question or negative action, FEAR.
I told her the story of when I was in a crappy car accident in high school, and the other driver was ranting and raving and yelling and blaming and pointing fingers, and I was stunned, because after making sure she was ok, I just kind of, sat there, and maybe cried because she was being so mean. the police officer told me, "just so you know, it's pretty easy to see who is at fault on the scene of an accident right away just by watching the actions and emotions of the drivers. only people who have fear of being at fault, put up a huge fuss and freak out."
I've remembered that analogy and thought of the tiny, vulnerable and fear filled chihuahuas. She was right, that big dog could probably just sneeze and blow them away. so they are putting up a huge fuss and a big fight to make it 'look' like they are bigger and more dangerous than they are. although if you ask me, a chihuahua's bark is terrifying enough on its own to make me run away or give it everything it wants, much like a tired 3 year old.
but back to fear. as a parent, I look at the times I'm barking, and bouncing and yelling and doing all kinds of stupid things to get people to comply to my wants and needs or to make them feel guilty for not complying. if it's really, truly, deep down about fear, then what am I afraid of?
my deepest parental fears? that I'm failing my kids. that I'm either a. ruining them by being too strict or b. ruining them by being too lenient. basically the giant fear that I am ruining them. or that I'm parenting wrong . or that they will never feel loved. or they won't be able to be empathetic and give love.
I have a fear of not being needed or important. well isn't that a juicy one you don't want anyone to know? where have I learned that being needed or important means being bossy, controlling or ruling with a giant, fearful, iron fist? from my parents. where did my parents learn that? from their parents? where did that come from?
I told my sweet Abigail, "now every time someone is ranting and raving and pushing you around you can imagine them as a tiny little chihuahua on a leash in a bright bubblegum pink sweater bouncing all over the sidewalk". you can just say to them (or yourself) " you are just a tiny little fearful puppy!" or as Jenn Sincero quipped,
"I am just a little bunny, working on my problems".
we are all little bunnies, or chihuahuas, or little 3 year olds, just lost and afraid and full of fear and trying to work on our problems. doesn't that help your patience level? you can take a deep breath and realize the giant turd of a person, is just so afraid. and feels so alone, and might just need a cute fuzzy sweater and a snack and some alone time to feel better.
the more you face your inner bunny, or chihuahua or little child inside you and help look at their fears, heal them, and reassure them that life is not a giant German shepherd trying to eat you up, but instead it's a wonderful, loyal, furry friend who If you give him the chance, will do anything and everything you ask and protect you from anyone who tries to mess with you. it really just comes down to letting go of the fears, and if you're anything like me, there are more than a few (hundred).