What started out as my attempt to connect with my twelve year daughter the other night, ended up in a heated discussion. I had reacted badly to something she told me she was not happy about in her life. I felt blamed, I became defensive and started to withdraw from her. She felt this and became defensive also, our bodies became tense. I left the room with a bad feeling between us. Five seconds later, I realised what I had done and what I needed to do next. I went back into the room and said, with some humour to my tone as I thought of what a banana I had been, “Actually sweetheart, can I re-wind everything I just said and start again because, this has not gone the way I intended it to” my daughter smiled, I continued by telling her I totally understood how she was feeling and that it was okay for her to have those feelings in fact, I often felt the same when I was her age. I witnessed the tension leave my daughter’s body and with a sigh of relief she said, “Thank you”. We then embraced, she cried, I told her I loved her.
In “Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves” by Naomi Aldort there is a story of a father coming home from work finding the house in a crazy mess as his children have been “Creating” all day. He starts shouting, telling his children to clean up but, he suddenly realises what he is doing and decides to “Re-wind”. He goes back out the front door and comes in a second time. This time, he greets his children in a kind and loving way and asks to see what they are drawing and making. His children delight in showing their father their creative work.
When I read this story it made me laugh, I felt the lightness and humour of it. I often find myself returning to apologise to my children overreacting badly but, I have started to become rather bored of hearing myself saying the word “Sorry” for the millionth time, say it too often and the energy of the word does not feel right somehow. “Re-winding” feels more freeing.