This I Believe

Tracy - Denver, Colorado
Entered on June 12, 2007

I believe in the power of calm. Although sometimes it belies how I really feel inside, the exterior of calm works wonders.

I try to use Love & Logic with my children, the secret being calmness and kindness when doling out discipline, even when (especially when) I want to get mad and yell. When I am mad and I yell at my kids, the release feels good to me temporarily but it doesn’t solve the problem and I look no better than a child having a temper tantrum. When I am calm and kind in offering up a natural consequence it works so well and they are left to deal with their problem, rather than me. The power of calm in discipline is key.

After about 20 years of being a devout atheist, I recently discovered God through the writings of Neale Donald Walsch and his books called “Conversations with God”. I had been so turned off by the misuse of power and aggressive evangelizing by some religious groups, not to mention the mixed messages about God and religion that I turned it off altogether. To this day I am still rather quiet in my spirituality so as not to turn anyone else off like I was all of those years, but I believe that a calmly enthusiastic book suggestion from me will be much more powerful and helpful to my friends and family who are interested in spirituality, than the ravings of an evangelical zealot out to fill up his particular church or hell.

In the environmental arena there are some people who still believe that humans are not the cause of global warming, let alone that it is a problem. Naturally, these people feel uninclined to make changes toward improvement, and there are many others that just haven’t given it a lot of thought. Just as my children don’t respond well to me yelling how right I am about something, or how repelled I was by fundamentalists preaching salvation with threats and negativity, I’ve noticed that people who are not yet environmentally conscientious do not respond well to overly passionate people screaming at them to save the planet or suffer the doom and gloom consequences tomorrow. I’ve made a few calm suggestions to groups I belong to about reusable canvas grocery bags, canceling paper phone book deliveries and the like. The response has always been so positive. I believe people do want to do the right thing, but they want to be approached with calmly enthusiastic, respectful ideas about making changes they can live with, one at a time, rather than complete salvation my way all at once or face hell as a logical consequence.

It is said that the meek shall inherit the earth, but I believe a plausible interpretation of this saying is, the calm shall inherit the earth, and we will make it cleaner and safer without any yelling, threats or tantrums.