Honoring greatness with the Nurtured Heart Approach
Tammy Small, M.Ed. and certified Nurtured Heart Trainer

(This was an excerpt from my bi-montly Counselor Corner column which I write for my school during the year. It is a faith based school and a natural place to poke for Greatness).
As we enter this long season of waiting, we are often challenged by our children, the stress of a season birthed for celebration, and the irony of its expectations.  I thought it would be an appropriate time to remind us of the power of taking a stand – specifically Glasser’s well-outlined stands of relationship in the Nurtured Heart Approach.  When we TAKE A STAND, we are basically saying “no” or “yes” to behavior or a belief in a courageous way.  We reach a point of clarity and resolve. And Failure is not an Option.   I think of the stand I am taking in not talking on my cell phone in public places. I take a stand to hang up from a call or not answer, to engage with whoever is spending his/her time to help me – and energize this relationship – even briefly.   My latest stand is to step away from my teenage daughter’s quick anger when she doesn’t hear the right ‘answer’ from me. (Stand No. 1: I refuse to give energy to anybody’s negativity”…. including MYSELF!)    I walk away from yelling or arguing – and then take the next stand: energize her when she calms down. She is so capable and any less than that would diminish her capabilities. She is capable of handling a difficult choice, a consequence of her behavior, of calming herself down.  Perhaps the best evidence I have that my diligence in maintaining my stands is paying off, comes in a text exchange we had after I said I was going to hang up the phone if she was going to yell (my 0 to 10 girl). She did. I did. (Stand No. 3: "I REFUSE to NOT give a consequence whenever ANYBODY breaks a rule to any degree.) I waited 10 minutes and texted her.
ME: Hi, I cannot have you screaming at me. I know you are frustrated.  But I am unable to listen to your feelings when you are yelling. I am sorry that you are struggling with this and are so mad. We can talk when you are calmer. I love you. Mom.  
No text return for an hour.  I wait. That is the hard part. But I believe in her capabilities. She CANcalm down. Then,
INTENSELY (WONDERFUL) DAUGHTER:  I am not mad anymore, just disappointed.  
“Wow!” I think. And she even got the feeling named correctly!  It was always disappointment. But the anger masked this. And if I were to energize the negativity of the yelling, yell back, engage in an argument, I would be increasing the power of negativity in our relationship.  Is this easy to step away? Heck no, I work hard at it. I talk to friends and to her dad and to myself. I breath and remind myself, Yes, she is. She is capable.  And this is my job to show her.  Then I follow-up with Stand 2: Relentless Pursuit of the Positive.  Not just the good job, thank you’s in life- but the recognition of what it takes in life to live greatly (like calming down, controlling anger, being patient, handling ‘no’!)
ME; I know you are disappointed. I am sorry. Thanks for calming down and getting past it. That is not always easy to do nor to understand what makes you so angry. Thanks for the text. Talk later. Love, Mom  
That is worth the wait of Advent!
Taking a Stand Toward Greatness in this Season of  Advent
Tuesday, December 9, 2008