When our youngest walks across the stage in 10 weeks in her cap and gown to receive her high school diploma, I will be happy to see that phase of our life complete. It’s not because I’m anxious to be empty nesters – although Kathy might shout ‘Hallelujah!’ the moment she finishes making sack lunch #5,940. It’s because, hopefully, that will bring an end to all the drama we’ve watched unfold the past 20 years among our kids’ circle of friends.
These range from ‘he said-she said’ gossip, to ‘I’m not speaking to him anymore’ conflicts, to ‘why do you have to spend so much time with her?’ rivalries. It got really old… and that’s not even counting all the teachers and administrators that sometimes made me question just who the adults were in the room.
Of course, I’m not so naïve as to think these things won’t continue in college and into her career. She’ll have to deal with the ‘I don’t want to sit with him at football games’ situations beginning in the fall, and transition into ignoring ‘Let me warn you about Susie in accounting’ comments when she starts working.
During childhood, some youngsters discover that creating stress around them leads to attention and, ultimately, they are rewarded for this behavior… possibly because their parents grow weary of dealing with it. The approach worked so well, they carried it into adulthood – perhaps unintentionally and subconsciously… nevertheless disrupting everyday peace in the workplace.
It’s as if those folks feed off the turmoil… so they keep flaming the conflict fire. Too bad they never learned the fourth ‘R’ – Reaction – and mastered the skill of controlling theirs.