As you know, my kids are often the inspiration for many of my blog posts. Watching them face new challenges, overcome hurdles and just learn things for the first time often causes me to see things through a new lens. However, today, I thought I’d share a lesson from someone else in the house – our dog, Jasmine.
If you read my last blog post, you’d know that Jasmine recently got a new little brother (James the Corgi – or as he’s become more affectionately known, Sir James). As I noted in that post, Jasmine was anything but excited for this new family addition. In fact, it’s safe to say that Jasmine wanted nothing to do with the feisty little guy, and was quickly annoyed by his constant barking, jumping, peeing and attention-stealing. But, how things have changed…
Once Jasmine realized James was here for the long haul, she began to be more accepting. She begrudgingly starting letting James follow her around the house, nibble on her ears, and even share her bed/toys (she drew a very clear line at the food bowl.) In a matter of just a few short weeks, they have become best of friends and almost inseparable. In fact, Jasmine is now happier than ever, as she has a new friend and playmate with her at all times.
Watching the two of them has given me pause to consider how we as people can overcome similar strife based on first impressions, perceived territory, volume/pitch of your bark or other differences. Here’s a summary of Jasmine’s approach:
- Accept their presence. At first, Jasmine likely assumed that James was a temporary inconvenience – and treated him accordingly. But, once she realized he was here for the long run, she realized it was time for a different approach.
- Assume good intentions. While James’ constant barking/following was initially annoying to Jasmine, she eventually realized that he just wanted to play with her (as opposed to annoy her). That realization changed everything.
- Give it a chance. Once the good intention was recognized, Jasmine gave playing/wrestling with her little brother a try – and actually enjoyed it. (It helps to be 10X larger.) Be open the possibilities.
- Set clear rules/boundaries. Jasmine is clearly the best disciplinarian in our house, making right and wrong very clear to James (via very loud barks and growls). If only Jasmine could potty train him. Be sure to be clear in your new relationships.
- Set realistic expectations. Although Jasmine and James have become the best of friends, this is not a requirement. Just learning to exist comfortably with and be accepting of one another is all we’re really asking for. Anything else is a bonus.
Please note that this is not intended as a political commentary, but rather as a broader lesson as it may relate to our respective “communities” (i.e., households, workplaces, neighborhoods, places of worship, schools, etc.). When we get along with those arounds us, happiness is much more achievable. And, isn’t that what we’re all aiming toward?
Small Army | Finn Partners