Me and Laurencita on the way home from school

This is part of the series Lessons from the backseat …

Years ago, when they were little, I didn’t often have the privilege of picking up the kids from school as I had a helluva commute from Miami to Fort Lauderdale that could take up to two hours on a bad day. So, whenever I did, it was a special treat. Lauren, especially, was always in a chatty mood and I loved it. It was like my favorite soap opera being narrated and I had to keep up with the vast cast of characters.

One day, when she was almost nine, she hopped into the car and started telling me about the  ongoing drama between Joey and Alyssa (names changed to protect identities). “Alyssa hates Joey, they fight all the time during aftercare. It’s getting out of hand. She really hates him.”

“Wow”, I said to her, “I wonder why.” She shrugged, she didn’t know the source of the tension and she hadn’t figured it out but then she told me that she had the chance to talk with Alyssa as they walked together at dismissal. And this is what she she said to her…  

“You know, you should try not to have enemies where you spend the most time.”

Honestly, I felt like that piece of 9-year-old wisdom was uncanny. How true is that folks?

She didn’t say don’t have enemies, cause that is kind of challenging, right? I mean, we know how the world works, not everyone is going to like you. She said try not to have enemies where you spend the most time. This deeply resonated with me.

It almost goes without saying at home – no one wants to live in an environment where there is strife. The tricky one is work where we get paid to show up and do a job. In most environments we have to work collaboratively and should strive to work inclusively. We are expected to get along or else it makes an eight or nine-hour day pretty difficult. Good relationships help to move projects along successfully. If we don’t learn to get along then we make our own lives miserable and it slows down productivity.

So take the time to resolve differences, especially where you spend the most time. Lean in and have conversations that bridge a gap and, in case your empathy tank is on low, just remember that in any given moment, everyone, including you, is doing the best they can.

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© Arlene Amitirigala 2020. All Rights Reserved.

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