Pioneer Woman's blog is full of amazing stuff: recipes, photographs of ranch life, words of wisdom, silliness, laughter. Recently, she described her experience with her youngest son in the NICU six years ago and wrote:
"...I was frustrated by my complete lack of knowledge and perspective."
This one sentence sent shivers up my spine and stuck with me as a succinct statement of a gigantic, universal truth. Six years ago, Pioneer Woman didn't have knowledge and perspective to deal with a stressful situation. In retrospect, she sees that clearly. At the time, however, she was winging it and not handling it well until someone--a stranger--smiled at her. That smile didn't make the stress go away, but it changed how she could handle it. Then, in the midst of her own bad situation, she paid that smile forward.
This morning, I watched my elder son pitch a mighty tantrum. I'm sure you know the part of your brain that remains calm and cool and rational, and watches stressful situations as they happen and says unhelpful things like "hmmm" and "well, isn't that interesting?" As Nick pitched his mighty tantrum, that part of my brain remembered this line from Pioneer Woman.
Nick was frustrated by his complete lack of knowledge and perspective.
Aren't we all? How often do we lose control because we don't know enough to see the big picture and how all the little stuff fits together? How often do we create our own problems with ill-timed tantrums over...nothing? Nothing at all.
So I'm curious. What do you do to gain knowledge and perspective? When I'm not in the moment, I pray, read, try to anticipate, and make contingency plans. In the moment, I take deep breaths and pray and try to keep my mouth shut as much as possible. And in the moment, I fail. Often.
It makes me want to hire that man who smiled at Pioneer Woman for myself. But even more, it makes me want to be the man who smiled, who helped someone get a little perspective. How can I be that person for my son, who at ten has precious little knowledge and perspective, and mighty big frustration?