Little Writings. Some Rants.

//Rant, Story Time: Minor Traffic Violation, Award-Winning Confrontation, and Excellent Parenting

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Robbin Higgins, open source content. All Rights Reserved

Hey folks.
Today is a deviation.

Sorry to say, this is NOT the update to Battle Buddies. This is NOT a Story of Seasons Fanfic, and this is NOT The Book.

This is a self-bashing, contemplative post of mind spew. Prepare yourself.

On the rare occasion of a day off, I ventured northward to meet my father in the city for lunch. It’s a three hour drive for me one way, and after spending time eating and walking around with him before departing, I’d already been out and about for quite some time.

On my journey home, I had to stop and rest at a rest stop, but that’s not the point of this story. Realizing I needed some caffeine and some pain meds for some unrelated pain, I decided I should probably definitely make a stop in a small, halfway town.

Being unfamiliar with the layout of this Walmart, and being pretty tired by this time (no excuse) I ended up going the wrong way on a one-way direction lane in the parking lot. Coming to a stop, I noticed an incoming car. Quickly assuming that the car was going to turn onto the one-way little drive, I jumped out into traffic and sped along, already abruptly ashamed of myself.

But the car didn’t turn into the one-way. Nope! It followed me.

Now, at this point in my early twenties, I’ve had a few (albeit brief) experiences with hecklers follow me in parking lots, even to the point of parking behind me and yelling at me through my rolled up windows so I need to call someone to walk me out of my car. I’m a young woman. We aim to be safe.

But I know that if I drive around forever, it will be a sign that I didn’t do anything wrong. And in this case, I knew I’d made a minor traffic violation. So, I parked. The car pulled up beside me.

One thing you should know about me, if you haven’t known it yet: I’m very much not very good at confrontation. Excuse my grammar for the sake of emphasis of understatement.

So here I am, clamming up, being prepared to be yelled at, when a woman steps out of the car.
I roll down my window slightly. I’m not so fearful of women with my personal safety as I am with men. Instinct. That’s another topic for evaluation later. Reflexive, I promise.

And here’s where I’m made to be surprised.

In a valiant display of effective communication, she stated calmly and effectively why she was mad (she had kids in the car), stated a correction of my behavior (please slow down), and after my quick, surprised apology, made a soothing but firm comment (Just pause next time.)

And then she went on her way.

 

And I sat there, ashamed of myself and flabbergasted.

In any other case, she had absolutely every right to be angry with me. But instead of acting out on that anger, she chose… kindness. Instead of lashing out in road rage, she chose the high road, opting to set an (excellent) example of assertive but effective communication for her children.

Admittedly, we can talk about whether or not it’s appropriate to follow another car into a parking spot to tell them what they did wrong. That’s not the point here.

The point is:

  1. When you’ve made a mistake, take a breath before you jump to correct it. Rushing to a correction may end up making things irreversibly worse. Take a moment to reset. (Duly noted.)
  2. Effective communication relieves frustration, provides room for the humanity of another, all while allowing both parties to grow. So: “I feel {blank} because {blank}, please {blank} in the future.” It leaves no room for excuses, but also opens up the availability of a calm conversation.
  3. Assertive communication does not need to be offensive communication.
  4. A mother’s love runs deeper than I can imagine. In this case, she was fearful for her child, even when in reality, an accident it would have caused might only frighten the child and cause no personal injury to anyone in either vehicle. However, the world changes completely when you become a mother. I have no idea what it’s like to live in her world of complete and utter selflessness. That was beautiful to see. (I also saw it later while she was pushing her daughter in the shopping cart into the parking lot later, calling “Wheeeeeee!” as they went.)
  5. And a follow of 4, leading an example for your kids in communication is pivotal. As a child, I feel like I often saw anger with my parents. Not that anger is bad, but managing that emotion effectively and productively is something every parent should teach their kids. I’m absolutely certain that this woman’s daughter will grow up to be a confident, assertive woman with unrivaled communication skills. I’m not sucking up. The display was just that fantastic. I understand that not every moment is a teaching moment with parenting, but I hope to hang onto this lesson if I have the privilege of becoming a mother.

Instead of teaching kids, “This is how you talk to people.” Show them how. Especially with conflict management.

It’s okay to be angry, but be conscientious. Turn that anger into something productive.

Take a second to orient yourself after mistakes.

 

And drive safe.

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