Friday, October 28, 2016


When Adam was a missionary, he got the nickname Karhu.  It means bear in Finnish.  I think it probably was a result of his size and maybe his bear paw-esque hands.

Perhaps it's because he's from the Northwest and likes to swim in rivers and eat salmon.

(Although Adam doesn't stand in rivers while he eats salmon.  He usually eats salmon after it's been cooked....)

Whatever the reason, that was his nickname.

I have no such nickname, but I have been known to be a little bit (or a lot) of a mama bear at times.  It hasn't always gone well.  Sometimes I'm...let's just say...hasty.

Mama bear has been on the prowl lately.  Emma, who has never had a day's trouble with a teacher in the history of ever, has been struggling a bit with a teacher.  I wasn't privy to it all along because Emma is a private/independent person and I'm a somewhat neglectful mother, especially when it comes to Emma and school.  She's got it covered and I let her.

I marched into the school the other day though, to speak with this teacher.  We had a frustrating but, I hoped, ultimately helpful discussion.

Then yesterday morning, I saw that things were not better.  And I got mad.

I wrote an email, guns blazing.  Now, I've learned from sad experience that these things always go better when I run them by Adam first.  He is calmer and wiser and, OK...more stable.

He was getting ready for work and I sat on the edge of the tub, with my laptop balanced on my legs, while he brushed his teeth at the sink.  "Will you help me with my tone in this email?" I asked.

I read it to him and he said, "That sounds aggressive."

"Well I feel aggressive," I shot back.

"OK," he said, "but you want results."

And he's right.  (Which is why I asked him.)  In these kinds of conflict who is right doesn't matter.  My righteous indignation and desire for justice needed to take a backseat to what outcome I desired.

It reminded me of one of my dad's favorite sayings, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

So, using Adam's suggestions, I corrected my tone.  I sent a better email with words more measured. 

And guess what?  I got back a very kind and supportive email from the teacher.  I think things will improve!  Adam's way, of reacting calmly and thoughtfully, isn't just about getting what you want.  It's also about thinking about the other person and where they are coming from and how your actions will impact them if you demand vindication.  What can I say?  I married above myself.

Here's my takeaway.  Sometimes Mama Bear needs to be less of this:

And more of this:

I'm glad I have my own Karhu to learn from.


Jennifer said...

Loved this. I love how you and Adam work together too.

Olivia Cobian said...

You're so clever!


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