When I was a child I use to wonder how our elders kept such an even temperament when a tenuous situation surfaced. Whether it was at our annual general counsil meeting or someone in the village was wronging another I would observe many different kinds of reactions from stoic-silent discontent to shouting. Reactions to events seemed to vary along with the personalities involved but one thing was consistent, elders as a group seemed to sit quietly until the parties involved had calmed down, then they would react, calmly. Sometimes the reaction was to ask a question, other times they would allow the conversation to move on, and my favorite (as the parties involved exhausted themselves) to have the last word and moving the group in one direction. I have witnessed elders do this hundreds of times and I always enjoy watching with excited-respect as if it is the first time.
As I grew older I learned something as was told to me by an elder, situations are easily forgotten but the way you react and how that makes others feel will remain for a very long time.
I take this lesson to heart and admit I have not quite mastered the art of remaining calm although I do better today than yesterday. Life throws a lot of things at a person and pressure can build as the obligations of family, business, life-surprises both good and bad, and the needs of others compete for our finite time and attention. I am thankful for this lesson because I have found it is less stressful to react calmly to a situation than to enter in with emotions raging and ending up causing a mess. Often the difference between calm and a strong emotional reaction is the calm reaction gets resolved faster with more clarifying discussion compared to a “knot” of hurt feelings requiring time to be addressed before a meaningful discussion can take place.
I am thankful for the life-lessons our elders teach us. It has made a difference in my life. Respect to the elders.