Stories that Matter

Being The Grown-Up In The Room

I read this excellent post on Jen Hatmaker’s Facbook page yesterday. She talked about looking for the grown-up in the room, i.e. the person not arguing, not using childish banter to go on the attack, the person others look to because they’re talking sense.

Sometimes you have to be that person. Sometimes you have to be the grown-up.

And that, my friends, is no easy task. Let’s think about it. How many times over the last few months have you felt shut down because what you wanted to say fell on deaf ears? How many times have you tried to use your voice for good and had it turned and twisted until your original thoughts looked nothing like the words being thrown back at you? How many times have you lost it, and not been the grown-up?

Yeah. Me too.

The things we are experiencing as a culture, in the United States and around the world, are unprecedented. I’ve never witnessed so much hostility, sometimes downright hatefulness, and vitriol on social media, ever, and I’ve been on it since forever. It is shocking and sad that our interactions have ceased to be pleasant. I know friends that have quit altogether. And honest? I miss their voices. Because they had something important to say, but nobody wanted to hear it. And so, rather than continuing to shout into the wind, they retreated.

I’ve kind of done the same. I go back and forth on the Facebook thing. But honestly, I love it for what it used to be. I love it for the interactions with good friends and family, and the writing groups I belong to. So now when I interact, I’m looking for the grown-ups. Looking for folks who are having open-minded discussions about current events without the entire thing turning nuclear. Because I think it’s important that we keep talking about these things, even if it’s hard. Even if it hurts. But we need to get to place of understanding. And I’m trying to be the grown-up too, and not post every thing that’s on my mind. Which again, is not easy, because sometimes . . . oh I’m tempted to let my inner-child come out to play.

Sometimes being the grown-up means taking a stand.

I believe it does. I believe we need to keep speaking out against those things that are wrong. I believe if we are truly convicted about something, we must speak out. To say nothing would be to silence our own voice. Which is what those who disagree so vehemently want. They don’t want to hear the truth. When two sides are in heated argument, neither side believes the other might have a point, and nobody wins. And yet, I think to stick one’s head in the sand and wait for the madness to pass is probably just as bad. Because it won’t. If anything, it’s going to get worse. I’d love to see more honest and open discussions about the things that are happening instead of the flame-throwing.

Being the grown-up means being in control. 

I remember those days when my kids would go off into full-blown temper tantrums. And wasn’t it tempting to grab their little shoulders and get right up in their face and shout right back? Oh, yeah. But what would that have accomplished? Nothing but an even longer, louder and most certainly angrier tantrum. And I’d probably go to bed early with a whopping headache. No. Sometimes you just have to wait it out. If you can’t be heard, walk away. Be the grown-up. And if you’re not being heard yet you still feel the need to speak, think very carefully about the words you post. This is especially difficult in the heat of the moment. So maybe come back to that topic later. When you don’t want to toss a chair through a window.

Don’t give up.

As with any great paradigm shift where it suddenly feels as though the entire world is off-kilter and there’s a vast majority that simply don’t see it, it’s tempting to give up. Tempting to go off and find a little hobbit hole someplace and just stay there. At least for the next four years. But don’t give up. Because for all the crazy, there’s still good happening. You just have to look a little harder. And sometimes you can be that good thing that happened to somebody today. You can encourage, smile, love, share your humor and your fancy self and just be that good thing this old world so desperately needs.

We’re all tired. 

Enough said. So let’s find something fun to do. I’m embarking on a month of personal challenge. I’m shutting out the noise, taking back control of what I eat and drink, exercising more, and I’m hoping to find some more inner peace in the process. I’ve also given myself that 30 days in which to complete this manuscript I’m working on. I’m being the grown-up. I’m making the rules. And I think I’ll be a whole lot happier at the end of it, whether I’ve achieved those goals or not. Because I tried. And really, that’s all any of us can do.

Are you working for change in your life and your community? Are you trying to be the grown-up? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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8 Comments

  1. Toni on February 13, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Love this post! It is hard not to give up and retreat into solitude and peace. But like you said, our voices need to be heard. As long as we remember to be a grown up when speaking, that is. 😉

    As for taking back control, I’m on a sugar fast currently. It’s daunting and I want to give in every day, but others are noticing a change in me. I believe overall it’ll have good benefits, so I’ll keep at it and do the grown up thing.

    Thanks for sharing your heart in this post!

    • Cathy West on February 13, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks Toni!! I haven’t used a lot of sugar for the past few years, but I take Splenda in my coffee. So not doing that is awful!! But I tried the suggestion from a friend on Facebook to use a bit of coconut oil and cinnamon to make the coffee taste better and it totally worked! We’ve never had a lot of dessert so giving all that up isn’t an issue for me, but the DAIRY – no CHEESE !!!! NO YOGURT!!! Aaaaah. And of course, no wine, but I don’t even want to talk about that. 🙁 It’s a challenge and I don’t know if I can stick it out the full 30 but I am willing to try!!

      • Toni on February 13, 2017 at 1:52 pm

        I’m big on desserts and I’m a big tea drinker so having no sugar (including stevia and the like) is torture! Praying you can hang in there!

  2. Toni on February 13, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Love this post! It is hard not to give up and retreat into solitude and peace. But like you said, our voices need to be heard. As long as we remember to be a grown up when speaking, that is. 😉

    As for taking back control, I’m on a sugar fast currently. It’s daunting and I want to give in every day, but others are noticing a change in me. I believe overall it’ll have good benefits, so I’ll keep at it and do the grown up thing.

    Thanks for sharing your heart in this post!

    • Cathy West on February 13, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks Toni!! I haven’t used a lot of sugar for the past few years, but I take Splenda in my coffee. So not doing that is awful!! But I tried the suggestion from a friend on Facebook to use a bit of coconut oil and cinnamon to make the coffee taste better and it totally worked! We’ve never had a lot of dessert so giving all that up isn’t an issue for me, but the DAIRY – no CHEESE !!!! NO YOGURT!!! Aaaaah. And of course, no wine, but I don’t even want to talk about that. 🙁 It’s a challenge and I don’t know if I can stick it out the full 30 but I am willing to try!!

  3. slhigdon20 on February 16, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Unfortunately, I have had to block several people on social media due to their vitriol and hate-filled speech. (I may even agree with their opinions—just not the way they present it.) I realized that, even if we are friends, reading their posts and opinions is my personal choice. I have decided that for my personal well-being and peace it’s best that I avoid certain posts. I also think it is a personal choice to be ‘reactionary’. It’s not easy to calm ourselves (or pray) before responding in a reactionary way, but it is the grown up thing to do! (I have a Facebook friend who started a new page in which she invited only individuals who she feels aligns with her political beliefs. I have wondered how she discerned that this was the “mature” thing to do. Since she is an educated professional in her field, I guess I expected more maturity and professionalism.)

    I have re-enrolled at the university where I work and I am taking one course each semester toward a degree in English. 🙂 This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. It may take five years to complete considering the degree has a foreign language requirement, but I plan to take it slow and enjoy the process. 🙂

  4. slhigdon20 on February 16, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Unfortunately, I have had to block several people on social media due to their vitriol and hate-filled speech. (I may even agree with their opinions—just not the way they present it.) I realized that, even if we are friends, reading their posts and opinions is my personal choice. I have decided that for my personal well-being and peace it’s best that I avoid certain posts. I also think it is a personal choice to be ‘reactionary’. It’s not easy to calm ourselves (or pray) before responding in a reactionary way, but it is the grown up thing to do! (I have a Facebook friend who started a new page in which she invited only individuals who she feels aligns with her political beliefs. I have wondered how she discerned that this was the “mature” thing to do. Since she is an educated professional in her field, I guess I expected more maturity and professionalism.)

    I have re-enrolled at the university where I work and I am taking one course each semester toward a degree in English. 🙂 This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. It may take five years to complete considering the degree has a foreign language requirement, but I plan to take it slow and enjoy the process. 🙂

  5. Cathy West on February 16, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Excellent thoughts! And good luck with the English degree! I loved every minute of studying the classics and all the other great books I read over those four years. I didn’t even mind the essays! 🙂

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