Every person has his or her own unique “starting point” or CONTEXT in life. It’s a personal blend of experiences (and how we feel about them), personality, strengths, challenges, interests, dreams, and more. And it’s changing all the time!
Stress, hunger, fatigue, and emotions such as anger, frustration, or envy can all negatively impact our context and ultimately our RESPONSES, as they make us more likely to generate AUTHENTIC RESPONSES (meltdown/shutdown, or fight/flight) instead of STRATEGIZING to produce SOCIALLY EFFECTIVE RESPONSES.
I’m thankful for those moments in life which I call CONTEXT CHANGERS. I had one of those last week, in the middle of the night. I was preparing to give a big presentation the next day, and was aware that I was sleep-deprived and would need a long night of sleep in order to be physically and mentally prepared to be my best for the attendees. At 3:00 a.m., my 22-month-old son woke me for the third time in two hours. My husband was still working at his 2nd shift job, and wasn’t available to deal with him. I decided to get Noah a snack, in case hunger was contributing to his difficulty sleeping.
At that point, my CONTEXT wasn’t in that great a place. I was tired, hungry, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I fixed Noah a snack, then began making one for myself, which he promptly wanted--and got, as I was too tired to argue with him.
I finally sat down to eat, and as I took my first bite, I heard a little voice say, “Mama, pray!” I turned to look at Noah, and he had his head bowed over his snack with his little hands folded in prayer.
Needless to say, my frustration quickly gave way to laughter, and instead of dwelling on my fatigue and concerns for the day ahead, together we gave thanks for our snack and our special midnight time together.
People, situations, words, memories, sensory sensations, and more can serve as CONTEXT CHANGERS—welcome intrusions which force us to stop and shift into a better starting point. I’m thankful for life’s CONTEXT CHANGERS—even from a little pint-sized human being--which are causing me to grow and change each day!