Step Back & Relax

It has been an emotional week. This may be hard to believe but when you have a household of 8 people living together there are times of conflict. When there are 6 teenage girls living in the household peace in tranquility seem to vanish like the morning dew. The last couple of days my one year old granddaughter has been staying with us which just intensified the commotion.
My dog and I, as the only two males in sea of estrogen, are trying to adjust. This morning my wife took the dog along as she took one of the girls to do some work with the pigs. When she came back, the dog would not get out of the truck. She became concerned and came to get me saying something is wrong with the dog. I went down and called to him, but he just stood there unwilling to get out. It is very unusual for my dog to not obey me when I call him, so I start checking him out to see if he is hurt. But nothing could be found. So I pick him up and set him on the ground figuring he’s getting old and maybe his joints are hurting him. To my dismay he jumped back into the truck. Nothing was physically wrong with him. I think he was just telling us he needs a break.

He’s been getting pushed around and yelled at too much. The noise level must be getting overwhelming for an older pet used to long periods silence. He must feel like he’s been transported to a war zone. He can hardly lay down without somebody calling him. My granddaughter thinks he’s some sort of living pillow to be layed upon or even jumped upon. I don’t think she understand that when she steps on the dogs legs it’s painful for him.

Sometimes he tries to be friendly and walks up to one of the girls, but this can be a hit or miss situation. Sometimes he’s accepted and nicely patted on the head. But approach the wrong girl at the wrong time he’s likely to get growled at, bit, or worse. Poor dog. I know just how he feels.

So,  my dog and I have decided to take some time to step back and relax. We can’t go far, but we can go to the front porch for some R & R. Just a few moments to bask in the sun and relax. For us, the porch is our safety zone. Everybody needs a safety zone. I don’t think some of the girls understand the concept: when you feel yourself getting overly angry, stressed out, or ready to kill, you need to step back and relax. Step into the safety zone. This is the seize fire zone. Everybody needs a place to go where peace can be restored, where the crickets can still be heard, and nobody is allowed interrupt you, yell at you, or place upon you endless demands.

Our natural urge when somebody infuriates us is to fight. This is a vicious cycle that can be just as destructive as any tornado. Things get thrown, stuff gets damaged, and people get hurt; then we all stand around in the aftermath gasping at the damage. Anger is a very dangerous thing. We all have it. But when it is uncontrolled people get hurt really bad. I wonder how many people are in prison today because they never learned to control their anger. This hasn’t been an easy lesson for me to learn either. I have the same urges. Sometimes I just want to choke the life out of a difficult person too. I’ve had my own destructive moments and I want to learn from them.

The truth is, anger is just as intoxicating as alcohol. You keep feeding it, and you are going to do something everyone regrets. One of the greatest strategies for anger management is recognizing when you’ve had enough. But this is not as easy as it sounds. When you’re angry everything within you is crying out, “FIGHT!” Control is never easy. I tried controlling my drinking; I couldn’t. So I don’t drink at all and I haven’t in almost 30 years. Anger is not quite as simple. It’s a constant struggle to recognize, just like my dog, when it’s time to get away.  Myriads of problems can be solved if people could recognize when it’s time to step back and relax.

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About Ken Sayers

I'm currently employed by a children's home where my wife and I care for a cottage of girls who have been displaced from their families. I'm a middle age man with two grown children of my own and one grandchild. I have worked as a United States Marine, a youth minister, a preacher, a childcare worker, and a truck driver. My hobbies include photography, horses, playing guitar, writing, and fitness.
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