It’s so funny to find this etiquette question in this moment. This is an area in which I'm trying to improve. I feel compelled to respond rapidly when someone reaches out, even if it is with a, “Let me get back to you on that” reply. I’ve been asking myself: Why do I do that? The answer is the Marshmallow Experiment. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_marshmallow_experiment

As a child, I would have absolutely eaten that marshmallow and I still struggle with impulsivity to this day. When I respond immediately/impulsively, instead of a marshmallow, I get reinforced by the dopamine rush that our electronic communication provides. I am also demonstrating that I’m an efficient person and not a procrastinator. Secretly, I am a procrastinator but I’m sure my efficiency here has effectively deceived the inviter. If I would prefer not to attend, I am able to avoid discomfort by postponing issuing a rejection until later. Sadly, I have found out that Future Janet doesn’t like feeling discomfort either, nor the anxiety of leaving the invitation in the air, so these things are best dealt with in the moment.

I have made the decision to work on this, in order to be decisive, honest, and efficient- but most importantly because the

sense of urgency that causes me to behave impulsively is imaginary. Dispelling this illusion in my own life, I believe, will lead to a happier existence.

Onto forgiveness:

I was 8 months pregnant when I completed my undergraduate in special education. My focus in college, and my subsequent teaching career, was around students with emotional and behavioral disorders. I studied applied behavioral analysis extensively. I learned that all human behavior can be broken down into behavior to obtain something, or avoid something. Small children interact with the world seeking joy without the concept that their joy may negatively impact others. This information was fresh in my head, and was being practiced daily, when I was raising my toddler. I feel like I had a serious advantage. As their first teachers, parents have to introduce the concept of empathy to their children. When joy is interrupted with redirection it results in the emotion of shame. Shame is a big feeling for a tiny human, necessary, but unpleasant. Children will immediately try to avoid it. When I think of Maslow’s hierarchy , introducing the feeling of shame into a person who believes that I hang the moon is going to knock them down to the bottom, and put them into fight or flight mode. Humans are not rational in that space. The opportunity to communicate is over at that point. A trick I learned with my little one that I carried with me into my high school teaching career: I kept a sippy cup of juice with me and when the wheels came off the bus I said: I am so sorry you are feeling so badly, handed my child the juice, and got them into a safe space.

As a high school teacher I was on the “Code 99” team. This is the group of professionals that rapidly arrives when a student is having a crisis that has escalated to verbal or physical aggression. I would bring a mini Mountain Dew with me, and no matter what the child had done, I could say with absolute truth that “I am so sorry this is happening to you right now” and hand them a soda. It worked 100% of the time… with high schoolers- my 3 year old absolutely bit me once- but that is a story for another day. The consequences still arrived in both situations- they were just delayed until everyone was calm enough to be rational, and be in the space where contrition and forgiveness were possible. It makes for a much more civil exchange.

I saw a fridge magnet once that said “Hug me when I’m bad, that’s when I need it the most. “ It’s easy to love when things are good, but there is so much satisfaction in loving a child when it’s hard.

Parenting and teaching made my heart break open with compassion. My ABA professor once said: Once you understand someone’s story their behavior makes perfect sense. Once it makes sense, forgiveness is effortless.

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This article speaks loudly to me…i feel it is hitting at the root of unlovable behavior and how to infuse how it is treated in a humane and helpful way. instead of guilt , fear, shame, you're no good, a less than o\person into recognizing a true self with all of the qualities of a Good Person, reflectoon of godlike values and principles.

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One mustn't teach children about forgiveness without distinguishing between that and trust, because that will make them vulnerable to fall into cycles of abuse...

Many people in the church want to abuse demanding forgiveness from their victims...

Forgiveness must not become a weapon used against victims...

Pieter J (PJ)

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Truth. rings bells

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If I have no love I am but a clanging bell

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