My weekly column in the Magzine NARA.
"Let the stress go and let the changes take the time"
Very often we the humans can feel stressed about wanting to achieve quick results with ourselves, or our children, or our animals. And many times we give up too soon. Of course I am the one that feels pressure if things do not go fast enough and then I become very frustrated.
But when it comes to other individuals I will do my utmost to see them as a separate subject in need of unique time, not mine. Especially now with my two children I often bite my cheek so as not to compare the different milestones in their lives.
When Olivia was twenty months old, she was quick as a weasel. Many laughed at us when we were in the big bookstore in the U.S. and Olivia strayed away from me between the bookshelves --- with me chasing after her.
The Rabbi looked at us a long time and finally said, "My grandson is three years old but does not run as well!" I smiled at the older man: "Do not worry, your grandchild will surely be a wonderful marathon runner when he grows up. "
At the dog park, we let our dogs meet and we want them to like each other right away. A dog may growl at another dog and the owner might become alarmed that his dog behaves aggressively towards other dogs. But growling is part of their greeting communication. The reasons for dogs to growl at other dogs vary. For some dogs, it may take time getting to know another dog, just like when we meet new people.
Sometimes in life surely we have experienced a loaded meeting where we have seen another person for the first time. But after a second chance, maybe in a different environment, the attitude has changed and we feel better about the person. Or perhaps they or we have matured and are more “acceptable” now. Or maybe nothing has changed, but we will not be punished for it as dogs can be if we continue to “growl” in our own way and don’t become friends.
How long it takes to get a dog housebroken is a question I often get from dog owners who only had the dog for a few days. It also happens that they give away the dog to a shelter if it doesn’t become housebroken fast enough, on their timeline, not the dogs’. Do we do the same with children that wear diapers for years or maybe pees in their bed longer than we feel they should?
I look at my children. Max, who will be five in December, swinging a stick right up in sister Olivia’s face. It could have gone very badly. I took the stick from Max and explained why his behavior is dangerous. I cannot excuse the dog’s or children's "negative" behavior, but I must try to find the reason for this behavior. After that, I try to find a solution and give it time to work.
During our childhood, and adult lives, we all have been labeled with something that was false or true. The label may have been difficult to wash off, even if changes have occurred in our lives or in the children, or the animal's behavior or maturity.
Gus, the dog that I've written about in previous columns, growled and snapped at his family after a traumatic experience, and was abandoned because of it. In his journals, it said that the family considered him aggressive and stressed out. A few months later when I met Gus for the first time, there was no growling or stress in him.
Gus may have been both at one time, but now had a label that made no one want to tackle him. No one even wanted to test him or read about his past and put one and one together, do a little psychological math.
Animals are thinking and feeling beings. Just because they cannot deal with an iMac computer or drive a car does not mean that they lack the same emotional feelings as us. Gus now lives with me and is a great darling.
Over time, we grow into the emotions and not in the words. Follow the emotions and release the time, feel behind your closed eyes. It's not that scary once you manage to release the stress, quiet the opposite.