It was just a peanut butter sandwich. I lost my damn mind and was rude to my daughter over a PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH.
She texted and then called repeatedly and frantically from school yesterday to complain that there was only peanut butter on her sandwich.
As I imagine any parent would, I went through the roof. Angry at her selfish, ungrateful, petty, complaining spirit. Flabbergasted that she’d get that bent out of shape about a meal someone else (her younger brother, actually) took the time and care to prepare for her. And I snapped at her, in the middle of her junior high school lunch period.
Now listen – none of what she did was right. There was ample opportunity for a conversation about gratitude, attitude, perspective, the way we treat people and respect food insecurity in our communities, what actually constitutes an “emergency,” and how not to be generally tacky and rude. And we had that whooooooolllllle conversation later that night. But in that peanut butter moment I let my own exhaustion and ego take the wheel and missed an opportunity to connect with my kid.
Anger destroys connection. Shame destroys connection. Self-righteousness destroys connection. Pride destroys connection. Snide comments, insults, criticism, a$$holery… they all destroy connection.
And we wonder why we feel lonely.
In hard moments, lean IN. Drop the weapons and the armor and be willing to respond in a way that doesn’t rip the other person to shreds. (Did you know that the root of the word “sarcasm” means “to tear flesh?”)
If you have the chance to be harsh with someone, or to be kind instead, be kind.
You can be firm and still be kind.
You can be honest and still be kind.
You can set a boundary and still be kind.
You can respect yourself, stand up for yourself, and advocate for yourself, and still be kind.
You can get your point across and still be kind.
It’s so easy to snap, shame, belittle, insult, and otherwise be a jerk. How many “sandwiches” do I waste my energy and damage relationships over? Too many.
I love my daughter so much more than a sandwich. Time to act like it.