Making the Lifesaver Redundant

Staying strong amidst waves of discontent

I cannot count the number of times I have made threats or laid down ultimatums that I am downright convinced I will follow through on. Yet as our children appear to be drowning in the ocean of misconduct, heading straight towards tragedy of consequence, the lifesaver in me is awakened. Albeit under tumultuous internal conflict, I grudgingly toss in the life ring. Just as soon as I do, I am filled with grave disappointment, profound regret and undue annoyance with myself. It’s too late. The opening to communicate a consistent message is now adrift; the opportunity for a lesson to be learnt has been lost. Mischievous smiles can almost be seen while they forcibly prevent the sides of their mouths from turning upwards. Breaths of relief are suppressed, exhaled instead as a whisper. Sometimes an arrogant, knowing smirk overtakes their evidently guiltless faces, taunting me with “Yeah, I knew you wouldn’t see it through!”

I spend the next few minutes, hours or days in self-flagellation depending on the magnitude of the lost opportunity. Only allowing self-forgiveness to creep in with a definitive promise that I will be unyielding and resolute from this moment on.

When the lifesaver emerges too often, my apparent influence fades further into background noise and my credibility diminishes.

This year I have decided to turn this entire unproductive cycle on its head and reschedule this lifesaver’s roster. With a revised strategy to not “sweat the small stuff” and only taking on selective and necessary battles, I may offer that role a permanent redundancy.

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