One of the favorite things about traveling with clients is spending time together and sharing stories. That’s how I heard this one.
My client’s name is Jennie … for this blog post. She has three daughters who are fairly spread out in age.
The years with Jennie’s middle daughter were rough. She’s in her early 30s now, and mother and daughter are barely at the stage where they like each other again.
So, when Jennie’s youngest daughter became a teenager, she knew that she wanted learn from the past and hopefully, have a smoother path.
Jennie sat her daughter down at 13 years of age and kindly and lovingly told her that, based on her experience with her two older siblings, that one day, she too was going to “lose her mind.” That some day, she would think that her mother was evil and making decisions that were not in her best interest. And she wouldn’t like her mother very much at all.
Jennie also told her that despite all of these feelings that as her mother, she would still love her very much.
Also, when that time came, Jennie would tell her daughter to go find a flashlight that she had plugged into the wall … to go “find her mind.”
This was Jennie’s way of anticipating the conflict that would ultimately occur and to put her daughter on loving notice that she understood what lay ahead.
And guess what? It worked.
One day Jennie’s daughter did have a meltdown and she “lost her mind” about something between mother and daughter. When this happened, Jennie simply asked her “Where’ s that flashlight?” and Jennie’s daughter understood … from the conversation many months before.
I love this story because anticipating the potential of conflict, and addressing it when heads are cool, can be one way of laying the foundation of understand … when invariably, things heat up.