Tuesday, August 25, 2009


As a friend recently pointed out, it's part of life. Heck, maybe it IS life!

Friction, push-back, wrangling. It's internal, external, political (meaning we don't like it and is largely unnecessary), systemic or isolated.

And we have to deal with it.

Without it gardens don't grow, living creatures don't hunt and kill each other, babies aren't made and born, children don't leave the nest, and old people don't fight to stay alive for one more Christmas. To say nothing of the struggle between good and evil.

I wrote this morning that one of the best ways to make a power struggle go away, with a child, is (sometimes) to do something unexpected. Drop the conflict and see if they want a hug. Apologize for the struggle or at least empathize that it's hard, right there, in that moment.

In my house we use the joke "Somebody needs a hug." or "Does somebody need a hug?"

If they refuse, drop it and go back to fighting.

Lol. Actually the cool thing is you just shifted the nature of the conflict by walking around it to the other side. You probably won't go back to the same place, which is good. This is a great time to drop it (if you can) and pick it up later. Or hold your position, but take a strategic time out.

What is astonishing is how often it works, cause the kid doesn't want to fight you. They don't want to be so conflicted about what they will wear to school. They feel bad about forgetting to do the dishes, and are mad at themselves for it. They truly are at least a little afraid to go to that particular party, even tho they will die if they don't go!

When you train a filly or colt, you start as soon as they are born, and treat them gently, but confidently. As you ask for more, you give more, and you never assume the job is done. Only idiots train by crushing.

It's not capitulation to drop your defenses and offenses with a kid, and just remember that The Point is to raise a strong healthy child into a confident adult. Ergo conflict. If the kid doesn't start standing up to you, then what do you expect them to do when someone offers them a joint?

If you crush their spirit, they'll learn not to trust their inner voice. Destroys their sense of worth and value. Decimates the very strengths you are trying to help them create.

Now think about your partner.

Sam Ting*.

Next conflict, reach beyond the moment of anger and frustration with him or her. Same principles apply as with a kid: Respect both of you, step out of the immediate moment and think about your love for this person, then offer compassion - for both of you.

Power struggles exist for a reason. Smile. And it isn't necessarily lack of respect (child to elder or partner to partner) but often just a demand to be heard. To be valued. Sometimes the question is "How much do you love me?" as much as it is "Who is in charge?"

The cool thing is that while real love is unconditional, it also doesn't put up with any crap.

What we are trying to remind our children, our partners and even ourselves, is that our devotion is unlimited. But we aren't backing down on the important stuff.

No, you cannot get a tattoo. Yes, we can talk about a belly-button ring. No, I am not buying a new car because you feel like a Mommy Van is demeaning. If you want to buy yourself a new car, fine. But we agreed on this budget and we have to agree on a new one.

By the way, notice that you pretty much HAVE to be centered, or grounded, to accomplish this cool move. If you are really lost in your own anger or issues, or fearful about your true level of authority, or freaking out inside about how to pay the bills, you can't execute this. Plant your feet, bend your knees and breathe before you try this at home.

or at the office ;)

peace out,

*Sam Ting refers to a great joke. Remind me and I'll tell it, in the comments. I use it to mean "same thing".

Friday, August 14, 2009

Micro Housing, Being Green and Living Simply

I found this cool site today when thinking about sustainable housing and downsizing.

Here we are in the midst of the largest population ever in our history of retirees, who need less house every year.

Even if few people actually retire because of the economy, we'll all find it more efficient to have less to take care of in our lives.

A few years ago the same website posted this article about small prefab houses.

I love that, while micro housing isn't for everyone, many people are trying it. And there are already thousands of people who love to RV (or camp) all summer, legions of retirees who just take to the road every summer, and settle down each winter in a favorite (warm) location. And many families join them for those few precious weeks of family vacation time.

If you were going out to travel for a month, cross country in a nice RV, what would you take?

While we're on the topic, check out Flylady's list to prepare for an evacuation. I love her list: practical and short. If you are faced with wild fires, or a hurricane evacuation, or even just a family emergency that calls you away from your home, are you ready?

Plan and Peace out,