Maybe that title should come with an exclamation point. Naw. That’s really the whole issue in this post. Sometimes a crisis (or a perceived crisis) doesn’t need an exclamation point. It may need the light turned up or the volume turned down so you can understand what the matter is or whether there is a matter at all.
Stella, our “queen” bulldog, posted her Monster Alert before she had all the facts. (See Stella’s Blog – Monster Alert – Special Edition from March 29, 2016 for the details from her point of view.) She wasn’t alone in her panic. She was joined in her barking frenzy by the whole crew. Snoopey was actually the first dog to see the “monster”.
I felt sorry for them. I knew that what they saw was no monster, but I could not let them out to show them because my son, a.k.a. the Tall Man, was mowing and spreading diatomaceous earth in the yard and the dogs could not be allowed out there until everything settled. He was wearing goggles and a large breathing filter so that his lungs would not be affected. None of the bulldogs have breathing apparatus.
I’m sure he did appear like a strange creature to them. His head was covered by the equipment and he was running the loud mower. An insect-headed interloper from a non-bulldog planet. I told them everything was all right. I tried to calm them down. I was telling them the truth. They didn’t believe me. They believed their eyes.
When my son came inside and took off his protective gear, they saw his face. All fear vanished. All barking stopped. All panic ceased.
The dogs’ panic would not have contributed to their response to the monstrous threat had it existed. Getting all wound up doesn’t help any of us answer a challenge.
The key is not to start with panic. Alertness, yes. Observation, yes. Eyes wide open, yes. Maybe even a quick step to safety until the situation is clear. Panic clouds those responses. And I wish they would trust me more. I’m the one who knew what was going on.
Oh, well, I should remember that, too.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)
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