Making it Worse

by | Oct 18, 2020 | Change |

making it worse

It was beautiful. My son and I stood back, smiling at each other ‘We’ve done well.’ One of the vegetable beds was freshly planted with onions and garlic to overwinter. This year’s crop was removed, a few weeds removed, and the soil loosed a bit, then new plants planted and watered. It felt good.

Working the earth with my kids is one of the small pleasures of life for me. It was a gift my parents gave me, so it’s lovely to pass it along to our kids.

Returning from a planting a tree in the meadow, we found Moose, our white golden retriever, sitting proudly in the vegetable bed. The freshly planted bed. He had a look of delight and pride as he lay on top of the onions and garlic. Our smiles vanished and anger rose. “GET OUT!” we yelled. Moose didn’t move, other than his ears pricking up. As we ran to him shouting, he jumped up, deciding to run in circles in the vegetable bed before running off. The garlic is ok as they are bulbs, half of the onions needed replanting, some of the seedlings were broken.

We can laugh about it now, but in the moment it was infuriating. What made it worse was the realisation that if we had not shouted and ran at him, Moose likely would have walked out of the bed damaging nothing. Or damaging very little. Our response made it worse.

This is true in so many other areas of life – from parenting to organisational change. When another is doing something we don’t want, how we react often impacts the amount of damage inflicted. Too often I shout causing more damage, when I’d be more successful breathing deeply and remaining calm.

Photo by Greg Egan

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