Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pearl 27: The Doghouse is No Place to Live

Dearest Gehrig and Eliana,

Hello, my sweets. Granny and I are in Cabo San Lucas for a little winter visit and we miss you both dreadfully. Hopefully next year you will be able to join us for a couple of weeks down here. You will be three years old by then and I will introduce you to quesadillas at our favorite restaurant. Wonderful!

Eliana, your mom told us about the little encounter you had last week that resulted in an extended stay in "Time Out". Not a lot of fun is it? There is something about being separated from those we love that is disturbing, but it does give us time to contemplate our behavior and think about how we might change it so we don´t end up in the same situation again. Of course, it does take some time to learn about cause and effect at your age. In fact, Grandpa is still learning about that as well. Which brings me to my next Pearl:

Twenty-Seventh Pearl:  "The Doghouse Is No Place to Live"

Sometimes even older people misbehave. We say things or do things that cause others pain or embarrass them or, even, humiliate them. I know for me and your Granny, it is hardly ever intentional because neither one of us would seek to cause pain to the other on purpose. But, sometimes, we unintentionally do things that make the other person angry, sad or both and then one or the other of us ends up in "the doghouse". And as painful as it is for me to admit, most of the time I am the one who ends up in the doghouse. The doghouse is kind of like time out for adults. It isn´t a place, like your bedroom, or a chair, like your little time out chairs, it is a state of existence  By that I mean it is a condition that exists for some period of time where communication is shutdown, tension hangs in the air like a thick, dark cloud and Granny makes it abundantly clear that Grandpa has been a bad puppy.

Once in the doghouse, getting out is a long and painful process. It involves much initial silence on my part, significant contemplative thought on the alleged offensive behavior, several peeks out of the doghouse to test for signs of possible forgiveness, a slow approach with tail between my legs followed by an appreciable amount of sincere groveling with promises that I will never poop on the carpet again. Sometimes it works, but occasionally, I must return to the doghouse, my sentence not quite served.

Fortunately for me, your Granny is a forgiving soul who loves me very much and is willing to overlook my puppiness. Otherwise, I would have had to pick out some new furniture for the doghouse by now as the original set would have been totally worn out. But I guess my point here is not about being “in” the doghouse, it is about doing everything I can to stay out of the doghouse in the first place. It is coming to an awareness of thinking about the other person before I speak or act inappropriately and doing the best I can not to embarrass, humiliate or cause them pain.

Since I love your Granny with all my heart and because she is the best thing that ever happened to me, I have plenty of incentive to be a good puppy. I am certain if you think about the ones you love and who love you the same way, you will try to be good puppies too. Or at least most of the time. Woof!

I love you bunches and bunches,

Grandpa Jud

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