My husband loves to tell stories about being a doctor in Soweto South Africa and dealing with patients in the emergency room. Stories include violent psychotic patients, patients with axes in their head (literally) or a guy waiting in triage with his eye hanging out.
Another great story is when we lived in Australia and Gavin worked for the flying doctor service. He would fly into remote locations – the only doctor for thousands of miles. On one occasion he had to perform emergency surgery and it was a procedure he had never done. In order to do this life saving surgery he had the nurse hold a text book open and a doctor from the base hospital giving directions by phone.
Sounds stressful but not for Gavin. In fact these situations bring out the best in him. However, I can attest that dealing with traffic will set him over the edge.
I have an amazing ability to cope with stress. I can manage huge work load, a special needs child and personal stresses without missing a beat. I cannot however deal with stresses I endured in South Africa from crime. I hate staying alone and I am very nervous as soon as I am in a shady neighborhood. Just a discussion on crime can make me have a nightmare.
Gavin I do a lot of personal and relationship counseling. There are many common issues that cause family conflict and marital discord. I see a theme that cause stress and it amazes me that we are not taught the most important life skills to deal with stress. In fact you can get a PHD from Harvard and never learn: parenting skills, communication and conflict resolution skills or financial management skills.
As indulgent Jewish parents it is so easy to fall pray to our kids tears and give in. We recently were traveling and we witnessed a teenager throw a fit with tears and all when she was not satisfied with a hotel. She knew turn on the tears and daddy will come to the rescue and pay for an upgrade to make princess happy. All missing parenting skills, financial skills and conflict resolution skills.
While Gavin can cope with acute medical emergencies I would freak in that situation. On the other hand I have a huge appetite for risk. I will one day share our story how I convinced Gavin to buy an apartment on credit card. Two people in a marriage with completely different abilities to cope in stressful situations but we make this work by assigning responsibility to the person who copes best with the situation I recently met with my friend Deborah Grayson Riegel. She is a business coach and her book “Oy Vey is Not a Strategy” is coming out in May. I love reading Deborah’s blog which is about business and life strategies with a Jewish message.
It made me think how great it would be for Metroimma’s if we committed to teaching our kids some if these important strategies for dealing with stress. Just like in business “Oy Vey is Not a Strategy” for parenting.
Originally published: March 4, 2012