Sometimes when there is conflict, we find ourselves dragged into the middle of it like a moth to a flame. Have you ever thought about the role you take on when it comes to resolving or contributing to the conflict at hand? Ask yourself honestly, do you fuel the fire or put out the flame? Is there anything you can do differently to help bring peace or anything you can stop doing to prevent the conflict from getting bigger than it has to be? You CAN make a difference. What KIND of difference will you make?
I guess there is a real parallel between life and a rodeo. Some of you are probably asking yourselves where I could possibly be going with this one , but be patient, you will see.
The arena is where our interactions take place. It’s life, plain and simple. It could be our jobs, our home, a restaurant. You name it, anywhere life happens gives life to an arena.
The bull could represent anyone who carries anger, attacks others and becomes aggressive in a moments notice. They are the ones quick to anger and speak with a hurtful tongue. If you disagree with them or rub them the wrong way, you can be certain they will attack.
Who is the cowboy? That is the person who attempts to interact with the bull. The one who tries with all his might to have some type of relationship, all the while knowing they may be attacked. The person who tries to get him under control, yet despite holding on for dear life and giving it his best fight, either just gives up and bows out or gets too roughed up by the constant fight.
So, who then is the rodeo clown? According to Wikipedia, the primary job of the bullfighter(aka rodeo clown) is to protect a fallen rider from the bull by distracting the bull and providing an alternative target for the bull to attack, whether the rider has been bucked off or has jumped off of the animal. I guess it would be the person who gets in between the bull and cowboy to try and protect the rider and steer the bull away from his path. And the craziest part, that clown actually does it while alleviating everyone’s horror by making the crowd laugh. Sounds like a dangerous job, don’t you think? Who would knowingly put himself in danger to protect someone from getting hurt or possibly risk getting hurt himself by redirecting the bulls aggression toward himself? It doesn’t sound like a pleasant job but I guess someone has to do. Would you volunteer, especially knowing you could be harmed in the process?
And who would even attempt to be anywhere near a bull with its unpredictability and aggressive nature?
And do I need to even ask who would want to mimic the bull as far as behavior?
Who are the bulls, the cowboys, and the rodeo clowns in your life? Pay attention. They are easy to pick out.
We all play a role in the arena of life. Which role do you play, the cowboy, the bull or the rodeo clown? I’d love to hear about it.
My son said those three dreaded words I prayed I’d never hear with my own ears. “Boys don’t vacuum”. Hmmmm….I haven’t even responded yet except to hand him the beautiful piece of machinery as he climbed up the stairs. I guess I am reminded that we as parents have the responsibility of teaching our children everything there is to learn, including but not limited to lifestyle roles. Where do I start and where have I already gone wrong.
Just today we stopped into Waffle House for breakfast and that’s where the teaching started. Our waitress was angry. She had worked since 9:00 the previous night and the dishes were piling up. She was passive aggressive, slamming the trays down after she removed the dishes and was complaining to another worker. The problem was that I was choking on the grease from my chocolate chip waffle and couldn’t even get her attention to get a simple refill. Then, another woman walked into place a to go order and she ignored me more, stopped washing dishes and continued to sweet talk the baby in the grandmothers arms. This was my opportunity to teach. I asked the kids, do you think she is being dumped on by the other workers or does she never finish a task because she doesn’t give her full attention to it?
The best thing I can teach my kids is this. If something needs to get done, somebody needs to do it. Just get up and get it done. I think whoever is available and able should, as Nike so eloquently put it, “Just Do It”. We live in a world where “Its not my job” and “why should I do it?” Are becoming common phrases. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. Do what it is that is expected of you. Stop looking around and questioning how much someone else does and do whatever it is YOU are supposed to do. You are only responsible for your own actions, and it is your actions will eventually determine your worth.
Do we become the rolls so we generously take on? Married couples are busy people. They constantly have other things pulling at their attention and driving them further and further apart. There days we can take work home thanks to the lovely creation of technology. We can sit down right at the dinner table and check email as we slurp down our spaghetti.
She is the one who washes the clothes and cleans the house and he is the one who changes the kitty litter and balances the chemicals in the pool. She is the one who keeps track of the kids schedule and drives them around and he is the one who goes to work and pays the bills. We do become our rolls but it is important to remember the rolls we came into our relationship with in the first place. Before parents and workers, we are husband and wife. Somewhere along the way we forget, or we push it aside quietly while we take care of those things we have to do. We forget how to be that young couple who used to date and stare into each other’s eyes for hours. We have become used to yelling to each other as we hurry pass one another in the hall on our way to grab little Joey from baseball practice and clear the dishes from the table. We forget what it feels like to be a man and a woman truly in a relationship and not just going through the motions without the emotions. So many things take up our time and attention, that at the end of the day, we just don’t have anything left.
Last night my husband and I went on a date. It was a wonderful. We sat on the outdoor patio that overlooks the city. We took our time. We talked. We put our cell phones away. It is so important to work just as hard at a marriage as we work at everything else. We must take an honest look at how we spend our time and seriously ask ourselves if we put at least as much time into our partner as we do everything else. If we are being truthful, I think most of us would admit that is the one area we let our time slip. Sometimes we want to float alone in the pool or read a book or watch a game and drink a beer so what is it we sacrifice during that time? We just can’t do those things at work or while driving kids around so how then do we balance all the things we have to do, the personal things we want to do and still have time and attention left over for our spouse?
It’s really an odd dilemma. Wearing so many hats yet forgetting how to be that shy, excited girl who used to date. It’s also important to realize that if you don’t find some way to remind each other that you are a romantic couple then he will only be the guy who changes the oil and the kitty litter and you will be the one who vacuums and drives everyone around. What kind of marriage is that? Not a very romantic one! So, go out on a date. Remind each other what made you fall in love in the first place or at least to agree to that second date. Change it up. Break out of routine and don’t forget one of the most important responsibilities you have, keeping your marriage alive. In a world where divorce is sadly such a common circumstance, be the one who makes sure your marriage stays alive. Alive is the key word here. No more going through the motions. Be spontaneous, be fun and be the person your spouse married in the first place…..all those years ago.
I believe we are like characters in the story of a book. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the role we play that we lose the moral of the entire story. It is only when we step outside of our character and take time to read the story personally uninvolved that we really see or understand the story at all. We have to find a way to stop taking everything personally, to stop reacting personally and stop inserting our me into every conversation and situation. I’ve said this before, the world is so much bigger than our simple selves. You are not the only character, but one of many. Do you take time building yourself up to be bigger than you are or do you selflessly step aside and see you are just one, small, insignificant character in a short story of a series of books that come together to form our lives. Sometimes our characters cross, and other times they don’t. It is your book. It is your story and only you get to decide exactly what your character is made of. Is your character a victim, a hero or an innocent observer? Do you ride into every scene ready for battle or enter quietly and peacefully? Can you see the good and positive scenes in the story or do you find yourself stuck only in the ones that are negative and bad. Choose your scene and choose it wisely. How do you want your book to end? Our lives are not only about ourselves. Each chapter of our lives is filled with events and relationships we have with the people around us. If you don’t like your character you do have the power to change your role. You are not stuck in a role, only stuck in your own selfish ways. Only you have the power to write your own story, and if you don’t get it right the first time, rewrite it until you find your way.