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At a recent parenting workshop I spoke at I was deeply touched at the transformation of one man. Jed Norwood, a devoted father, said, “That was real courage.” This was his statement after he saw me and my fifteen year old daughter demonstrate how the Rule of Three works. The Rule of Three is the way we help people choose to be calm when they are out of control at our house.
In our role play, Paije was angry. She shouted, ignored, tried to distract me, made excuses, manipulated, and finally walked away. She tried to be as close to a real teenage tantrum as she could perform. She really is a little actress.
The whole time Paije raged and manipulated I stayed calm. I said the words of the Rule of Three. No matter what she said I kept going with the rule of three. I wasn’t going to allow her to control my emotions or my behaviors by sucking me into her pretend power struggle.
Pretend power struggles can carry all the real emotions of real power struggles. The room was feeling the negative energy and they were getting uncomfortable watching Paije. Jed said, “I had to keep myself in control. I felt like smacking her even though she wasn’t my child.” (not that he would)
I suppose this tells you how believable of an actress Paije is, and how she would probably regularly behave if she didn’t know how to govern herself. She is a really strong-willed girl. She just chooses to use that strong will to control herself instead of to try to manipulate others.
After Jed said, “That was real courage.” he said, “I have been studying humility for a long time and trying to incorporate it into my life, but I have had a hard time because it seemed like courage had to look strong [and aggressive.] But what you just did when Paije was yelling and out of control was real courage. That is what courage looks like. It looks like humility, and it isn’t weak. You were really strong and calm.”
Jed was able to see how a person can be courageous and humble at the same time. I call that skill being assertive. I absolutely love the way Jed described assertiveness. So inspiring.
After Jed’s amazing comment, someone asked how I stay calm and don’t engage or talk back to Paije when she is being so aggressive. This is what I do: I think about the words I have to say so that I don’t take the manipulations she is using personally, I listen to my own voice tone, and most importantly I think about how my own heart feels. I focus on reaching with my heart to her and on keeping my heart calm. That calmness is really hard to escalate against. It is a power to touch another heart and to keep my heart safe when someone else is out of control.
It really is the little moments in our lives that form us into the powerful people we are meant to become. This little moment was a big moment for Jed and for me. Jed saw himself in a new way. He saw the way to overcome the problem he was trying to fix. He saw the man he could become. He also saw the way to implement the humility and courage principles he knew were important into his daily living and interactions.
When a person has a vision they are transformed into a new person. They gain permission to behave and connect to people in different ways. I am so excited for Jed’s future. His epiphany also strengthened me. Thank you Jed for adding new vocabulary to describe assertiveness.
Jed’s Reply To My Article!
“Thank you Nicholeen for being the example I needed to see. In my search to understand what humility and courage are I have learned that they are both required as personal characteristics in order to be effective as a person in any role. Especially as a parent!
“If I may I would like to expound on what I really mean here. The world sees humility as weak, submissive, timid and even insignificant. But the examples that I have studied were far from insignificant, or weak. Submissive yes but in here lies the secrets to the power behind humility. It takes real courage to refrain from wanting to flip into a self preservation mode, or to protect ego and pride. I feel that it takes more effort and strength to stay in a calm state then it does to step into the norm and engage negatively. It takes real courage to submit to the moment and wait for peace and love to return.
“Like I said I have been seeking understanding on the true meaning of humility and over that last few months have been lead down a path. One of those life lesson exams if you will. I have found that there are some good examples of humility the most important to me being Jesus Christ. He willingly submitted himself to the will of His Father. And subjected himself to the actions of others. Was this weakness? Was he timid? To the world it would appear so. But understanding the greater purpose one sees that it was far from timid. Anything but weakness. For Him the price was too high to give into the path of least resistance. But, His example for me seems overwhelming at times. hence my journey continues.;)
“I needed something a little more down to earth. More on my imperfect level. So I asked for an example to be presented to me. And that I would recognize it when it came. Your demonstration was that answer. Thank you for showing me that I can submit without losing control of a situation, that peace and calm can be heard over screaming and temper tantrums. That I can still hold the proper authority as parent and not engage in power struggles.
“True courage is in humility and in humility power is given to love. Charity never faileth. Thank you for letting me have a voice.”
Thank you Jed, for sharing your transformation and your understanding of true calmness, humility and courage. You really are an inspiration. The more we courageously choose calmness and assertiveness in our relationships, the happier we will become. And, as you stated, the closer we get to following the perfect example of the Savior.
Help Nicholeen Change The World By Teaching Self-Government In England This Fall.