PRAYING FOR ISRAEL Former IDF Chief of Staff, General Moshe Ya’alon, Gives Sober Assessment of the Jewish State’s Current Security Situation

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By: Tammy Sassoon, M.s.ed

It is worthwhile to learn communication skills to learn how to get along with each other. Let’s take it a step further and examine the root cause of all disagreements. This means that before we teach our children how to get along, they need to be emotionally healthy enough to actually do so. People who get along well with others care more about making peace than they care about being right. But being right is very important to a person who feels insecure. There is actually a lot we can do as parents to raise our children to feel secure enough that they don’t need to spend time or emotional energy on being right. (Of course, we want our children to stand up for themselves – but in a healthy, confident way – not in a confrontational way.)

The Cause of Disagreements

What is at the core of every hostile disagreement, whether it is between two toddlers, two 90-year-olds, or two countries? It is always a matter of one party feeling insecure about their safety or feeling insecure about their value, and then generally the hostile disagreement continues because the other party also feels insecure about their safetyor about their value. For example, a three-year-old might hurt another three-year-old if he/she claims that the other took his/her paper. In that case they are questioning their security (whether they will have the paper that they need), or their value. Meaning, the child is wondering, “Am I important or are people allowed to just take my things because I don't have any value?” Once people feel that they are 100% safe in this world 100% of the time, and that they are always valuable, they don’t feel the need to engage in confrontations. They can politely state their viewpoints, and politely hear other people’s viewpoints.

Teaching and Modeling for Our Children

What we need to teach both younger and older children that nobody can ever threaten their security or their value. We must tell them that they will always have everything they need in every moment, and that they will always be valuable, no matter what. You can be creative in how you send this message to children, but remember to first always give proper modeling. We have to show our children that we feel secure in this world, that we feel calm that we have all that we need, and that we know that your own value and the value of the people around us can never be taken away. When things don’t work out as we wish they would, let’s show our children that we accept life on life’s terms. When someone takes our parking spot, when someone cuts ahead of us on a long line, when our children do not listen as quickly as we would like, let us remember that all these circumstances in no way imply any lack of our security in our lives, or lessen our value as a human being. With this feeling at heart, it makes it so much easier to live peacefully with others, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

Tips to Diffuse Confrontations

With that being said, I will offer a simple communication strategy that can help us express difficult messages to people. Start by saying to the other person, “I know you didn’t mean to,” or “I’m sure you didn’t realize,” and then express kindly whatever needs to be said. It removes the judgmental feeling from the interaction, and also reminds the other person that you believe that they are also secure and valuable at all times.