Thank you Grouchy Man!

191 days of not yelling, 174 days of loving more to go

Dear Grouchy Old Man,

The other night I wrote about how frustrating it was to have you yell at my son and me (read here). I woke up the next morning, bitterness gone, to realize you gave me a gift. The gift of realizing just how much I have changed. 15 months ago when the same thing happened, I cried, I yelled, I made a spectacle of myself (see It Takes Courage not to Yell, Part 2). I didn’t communicate anything worthwhile to the offender and furthermore I didn’t take a bad opportunity and make it a learning opportunity for my kids.

But this go around, I did all of the above. I told the man that kids yell sometimes, that he was doing his best, that I was as well. I told my sons that sometimes people say not nice things and it is important to be the bigger person and respond with as much kindness as possible. I didn’t cry in front of the man but remained as strong as I could.

I told people “I didn’t care, it didn’t matter. I was used to being criticized for my son’s behavior.”

The truth? It did matter. I did care. And it wasn’t that I was used to it was that I have GROWN UP a bit. I have become STRONGER. I have learned how to CONTROL my impulses.

I truly believe this is a direct result of The Orange Rhino Challenge. The Challenge has forced me to look at myself, my behaviors, my responses. It has forced me to accept that I can’t change others but that I can change myself.

And for all of this I am grateful.

Which I guess makes me grateful for our little run in old man.

Who would have thunk it?

Best of Luck to you as you learn Tolerance and Empathy,
The Orange Rhino

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