Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Earning the Right

From the tadpole currently growing in a tank on our kitchen counter to every other type of creature God made, my girl is an animal lover. She absolutely delights in our pets and their antics. Recently, she has formed a particularly tight bond with our 8 1/2 year old lab, Haley.
(This picture is a couple of months old, but it illustrates their friendship.)

Haley sleeps in our kitchen, so each morning when we come downstairs for breakfast her full bladder and empty stomach make her very excited to see us. She dances around the room with great gusto. Because of her size, it can be intimidating for my children.

R is a little moody in the morning, so he avoids being the first into the kitchen. He just doesn't want to deal with all the action when he is still waking up. P, on the other hand, is always famished after a good night's sleep, so he ventures into the kitchen despite the hyper dog. I immediately hear something to the effect of "Ha-aa-ley! Down, stop, quit, sit, Mo-oo-om!"

K, however, simply giggles and says confidently, "Ha-ley, sit!" And the dog obeys.

It drives my boys crazy. P tries every voice he can muster--changing his inflection, deepening his tone--but his command to sit is seldom (if ever) obeyed.

This morning, as I watched the scenario unfold yet again, a teachable moment presented itself. When P exclaimed his frustration that Haley only listens to K, I asked him if he had any idea why. I explained that I think it is because K has invested in Haley. She feeds her, pets her, talks to her and rubs her. Haley sees evidence that K cares for her. K isn't always telling Haley what to do. Most of the time she is just loving her--and as a result Haley respects and listens to K.

Hmmmm. As the words came out of my mouth, it was a lesson to my heart.

In Young Life circles it is referred to as "earning the right to be heard." It is similar to the old adage that a person doesn't care what you know until they know that you care.

Truth be told, it is relatively easy to stand on the sidelines and shout out directions to people. It is another thing entirely to enter into their world and earn their trust and respect.There is a lot of application to my daily life and interactions with people.

Who knew that a little girl and her old dog could wind up teaching me such a challenging lesson this morning?


T Sharee said...

LOVE your blog!

Denice said...

Awesome lesson!

Eunice T. said...

I love how you're able to turn everyday experiences into great lessons! :)