Perhaps we’ll start today off with a little zoology reminder. As you may know, a duck’s outer feathers are waterproof due to an oily coating that the duck secretes. This oil repels water and forces the droplets to roll off the duck’s back rather than making the feathers wet and heavy. This fact has become the basis of a little piece of advice we’ve been giving to our kids when they overreact.
It’s a reminder to keep your cool, let it roll off your back, don’t sweat the small stuff. My kids are now ten and seven, and big brother likes to push little sister’s buttons from time to time; her overreaction can be swift and massive, leading to a cascade of sibling fighting. After one such outburst over Lego or TV volume or who got to use the front door key, we sat the kids down and had the water/duck talk.
It sunk in. They got it. And now when those episodes happen, we just have to say “water, duck” and it serves as a very effective reminder to think big picture and take a deep breath. It’s always been my ultimate goal to raise children who are happy, however that happiness is defined or manifests for them. Part of the water/duck talk was to explain to them how focusing on small problems only robs you of joy, steals your energy, and creates a feeling of unhappiness.
This is advice that I try to heed myself too, and something that’s come in very handy over the past two weeks. You see, today is day twelve without internet at home, as our service provider tries to fix an unknown issue- we’ve had four technician service calls, hours on hold on the phone, and stretches of days waiting for the next available 8-5 repair window. It’s still not fixed and we’re frustrated. But…….. water, duck. If this is the worst problem in my life then I’m doing pretty well. I’ve got wi-fi at work, Starbucks wi-fi down the road, and I can create a hotspot from my phone when I need to be online at home. Problem solved, onto bigger fish to fry.
I’ve seen far too many grown adults grumble about someone kicking their seat on an airplane, let a cold restaurant meal ruin their night, or complain about loud backyard neighbourhood gatherings. Water, duck friends, just let it roll off your back.
Focus your energy on the good stuff.