a few things ..
one - i have decided to never devalue a gift by saying, "oh, you didn't have to do that." of course the person didn't have to do that! clearly he/she wanted to. i wasn't standing there forcing him/her to buy the gift, wrap it, and bring it to me. instead, i'll be gracious. the more excited the receiver is about a gift the happier the giver is.
two - i work with kids who have trouble communicating verbally, non-verbally, and socially. some of my kids are low level, ie: can't hear, talk, walk. others are typically developing physically, their speech just hasn't caught up yet. as i was driving home today thoughts about my kids swam through my head...
what if the frustration we feel with others is actually a reflection//reaction to the frustrations we see in ourselves? their inability to communicate the way we think they should is actually a mirror image of our own lack of ability to communicate and connect. we are social beings and is there anything more frustrating than not being understood?! my kids hit and bite and scream. they are saying the best way they know how : "YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND ME!"
and what do i do? i would like to hit something (or someone), throw things, yell, and scream but i bottle up my feelings, withdraw, and write. my secret hope is that maybe if i understand me better i will be able to communicate better with others and have them understand me and me understand them. and while total withdraw is not ok, looking inward - "taking a swim in lake you" (for psych fans!) - is actually a good thing. as i see how my hurt started and what it came to be i begin to understand the process of human emotion. i am not expert, but i can tell when people are down, and i hope that my sad times will make me better able to connect and help those hurting ... heal.
so, i'm not going to return hitting for hitting or anger for anger. instead, i'll breathe. take a moment. understand that this kid or this adult or this being in front of me is not the problem. i'll listen to them, perhaps i'll hear a cry of frustration "i can't talk!" or a plea of pain "i am hurting."or a sob of silence "i don't know what to do." and then, when i understand, only then can i help.
and three - totally random ,, but i saw an empty milk carton flying in the wind today after a car raced past it and the thought entered my mind "what would it look like if a full gallon of milk was thrown from a car going 60 MPH? how would it explode?"
and that got me home :)