Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous
A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray
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Written By Guest Writer: Corey Kope
I have four daughters and one wife. That’s five women in my immediate vicinity every morning. Growing up with only one brother was… different. Less talk and more eating. It’s very interesting, and amusing for my mother that I am the one who most often deals with the emotional highs and lows of my own girls. My wife certainly does her share, but it just seemed to work out that way.
To watch how I deal with conflict resolution from the outside in these treacherous waters you would assume, like many have, that I am confidently handling all of the tricky situations we find ourselves in with the aplomb of a pro. “He just knows how to talk to each of them in their own language!” I laugh and smile on the outside, but I know the truth. I have no idea what I’m doing.
We recently moved to Airdrie, which was an adjustment to be sure. I’m amazed at how easily most of my girls adapted to different schools (four girls in four schools), considering the school they grew up in was a smaller, private one. Three out of four seemed to pick it up fairly quickly, but my second daughter needed a little more time.
My twelve-year-old girl (#2) is emotional and sweet, in many ways she reminds me of my wife. Our move has been harder on the two of them because they feel everything. I’m not making fun, but it is very different from how I process things. I think and then I feel. They feel and then they think. There are, of course, positives and negatives of both types of people. What I find difficult they would not and vice versa.
Girl #2 wasn’t feeling well yesterday so I made the decision to let her stay home from school. I don’t think I would have let any of the others under the same circumstances but I think it was a good decision with her. Then she woke up this morning feeling the same way. I know her. I know that there are emotions attached to everything she does and do my best to shield her, but I just knew that this particular emotion developing was a dangerous one and she would need my help to overcome it.
What I’m saying next might offend a younger generation but it could also change everything for them: What you feel isn’t always what is…..REAL.
“But I have to take care of myself and I have feelings and I have to be honest about them!” Yeah sorta… AND your feelings might be wrong. AND being true to your feelings might create a reality you don’t want. AND… letting emotions run your life just seems like the easy way out, but it never ends easy.
My daughter was feeling a growing Fear. Fact... her stomach was upset. How she felt about it is a feeling. Feelings are not always real. Feelings unchecked can definitely create reality. What was happening in her emotions was that she was beginning to be afraid of having to adapt to a new school, having to adapt when she wasn’t at her best, and it was building a false reality in her emotions.
Fact: new schools are hard. Fact: my stomach is a little upset. Fear: if my stomach is upset I won’t be able to do it.
This morning was probably one of the worst mornings I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a thousand terrible mornings. It’s funny how much suffering you can go through for yourself, but when it’s your daughter’s turn, how quickly you jump in to save her. But there was something deeper going on here, and I had to be Dad. Dads do what’s best for their families no matter what. Dads make decisions that are the best for everyone especially when they don’t feel like it. How easy would it have been to send her back to bed? But I’m an old soldier when it comes to Fear and this is my battleground. “I need you to trust me sweetheart. I think you’re afraid. I know you could be feeling better, but you can’t let fear win. Not for a minute. If it wins now it might always win. I need you to go to school for one hour. Do this for your dad? If it gets worse call me.”
“You MONSTER! Sending a sick child to school!”
I don’t think she was sick though, I think her feelings of fear were making her stomach nervous. I know countless adults who have never truly put fear in its place. And what starts as fear never ends that way. How many of us have made terrible decisions based on the fear of loneliness, not having enough, rejection, peer pressure? Fear can take us over and hurt us more than what we were afraid of in the first place! Fear eventually turns into a word that gets a volatile reaction from us but I’ll say it anyways… cowardice. But only the courageous do what’s right no matter how they feel.
“You’re still a monster for making her go to school, even for an hour!!” You might be right. That’s my fear and I’m dealing with it. All I know is Fear asks for an inch and takes a mile. It never stops until you stop it.
You can bet we’ll stop for a treat on the way home from school tonight. Our family always celebrates slaying giants.