“Open up your hatch! I need to brush your teeth,” I told me wiggling three year old as the minutes before I had to drop him off to school. My oldest son asked, “Dad, what is a hatch?” I replied, “It is kind of like a door.” He then questioned why I referred to his brother’s mouth as a hatch. “The mouth is basically the doorway of the face, I needed Josiah to open his mouth (hatch) to clean his teeth properly,” I told my seven year old. Honestly, that word simply popped into my mind during that rush of pre-school routine. After I got the oldest three kids dropped off at school, the chaos quickly subsided. I was able to finally stop and reflect on possible writing topics for the day.
Over the past week I have been in a creative slump. Largely, this is due to the insane work-life schedule I am trying to balance. It feels like I am juggling slippery eels, while attempting to cross a high wire—on one leg! Thursdays really are the only respite in my schedule as I don’t normally work until 12:30—today I worked a partial shift. This allowed me to also be home for the early afternoon as well. I took advantage of only having the baby by going on a 4 mile run with her in the jogging stroller. Exercise always helps jumpstart my thoughts, this jog was no different.
A continual theme I pondered was the importance of avoiding complaining. Staying silent in angry and stressful situations shows strength not weakness. Since I returned back to work from paternity leave in late April, this has been my focus—avoid complaining at all costs!
Words have Power
The 20th century philosopher Manley Hall plainly wrote, “Words are potent weapons for all causes, good or bad.” That old saying you may have heard in elementary school, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is so wrong! Words definitely have the ability to effect a person, positively or negativity.
Earlier this week, I had a call from an arrogant and unappreciative customer. She got on my nerves, but I maintained a steady tone and refused to fight her incendiary language at me and my employer in kind. I simply listened to her concerns and offered the options available. Although that was a challenging call, I was grateful I was graced with the ability to refrain myself from saying something unprofessional or unkind.
Say Nothing is you have nothing nice to say
The legendary Greek writer Homer wrote, “Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.“ I would add to this statement mean words are also best left without repeating! During my morning jog the image of Jesus calmly standing before Pilate’s judgment seat in the praetorium in John 19: 9. His stoic demeanor actually demonstrates strength!
The world tells us that silence in the face of false accusation is a sign of weakness. It shows strength to stand up for yourself. Fighting fiery rhetoric with even more flaming words only creates more anger and ultimately leads to regret. Remaining silent, if you cannot say anything positive or at least neutral, in those highly stressful interactions guarantees you will not regret having said something you could not take back!
Daily Challenge—Positive Thinking
My challenge to you this next week is simple—avoid complaining. Watching your words, especially the negative ones, will go a long way in infusing new life into your relationships. If you fail, don’t feel bad. I am the first to admit I strong mightily as a chronic complainer, but the GOOD NEWS is that I have improved—and so will you!