“Two things define you; your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.”
In my article on March 2, 2014 and chapter two in my book Backbone Power The Science of Saying No, I speak about the importance of being able to say No when you mean No. After listening to Elliot Rodger’s horrific video, I see that it is also important for us all to learn how to HEAR/ACCEPT the word No. There is not just one breakdown that led to this tragic shooting and this is one distinction that screams out to me.
We Americans live in a country where people are allowed to say No. Women can say No to a date with a man, any man, she doesn’t feel comfortable going out with. Men can do the same. We also live in a country where there should be NO retribution for saying No thank you. For someone to justify such horrific actions because women said No to him is unconscionable! And heads up anyone else who thinks people can’t say NO to you, welcome to the 21st century, where people can say NO!
I think it is time for a quick review here of the messages we are giving our children as a society. Do you give your child everything he asks for? Are you proud that you have spoiled your child? Do you have trouble-saying No to your child? When sports teams give everyone a blue ribbon what are we saying? When you apply to a school, you may get in and you may not get in. When you play a team sport against another team, you will have a winner, a looser and/or you may have a tie. All feedback is a learning opportunity. Do not deprive your child of these valuable learning opportunities because YOU don’t know how to parent your child through disappointment and frustration. . Teach your children to try harder, to have confidence when the road gets rocky, to understand their gifts and their challenges. Then as a family you work with both their gifts and their challenges. Congratulating your child for a win is easy parenting. Turning gold into gold is easy parenting. Being able to parent a child through frustration and disappointment, turning “manure” into gold is rich parenting. No child should be deprived of that learning. For any person to think they can control the world to the point of no discomfort is insanity.
Ask yourself first of all if you are a person who can say No and if you are a person who can hear No. Look at your behavior in your personal relationships, your family relationships, and your career relationships and see how you operate. There are many opportunities for growth when there are tragedies. We need to continue to look at the abuse that is prevalent in our societies especially with women #YesAllwomen, the insanity of the availability of guns, #NotOneMore, the absence of good mental health treatment and funding in this country, and the cultural messages present that lead to someone thinking people can’t say No to him and even worse, if they do he can retaliate with killing.
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein
Anne Brown (c) 2014. Permission needed for reproduction of any form.