Ever had a family burial ceremony? We did last Fall. No, it was not for the hermit crab (…he died years ago…). No, it was not for the water frogs (…inexplicably they are still alive…). It was for a few invited guests that we let come into our house. They have overstayed their welcome and we were ready to kick them out. Do they live in your home?
Sarcasm. Yelling. Bad Attitudes.
It started with a sit down family meeting. I apologized to the kids for my sarcasm and yelling. I told them that I did not like raising my voice to get them to listen to something. I told them that my words had not been sincere when they asked me questions. I told them, “I’m sorry.” Finally, I told them I was willing to give up sarcasm and yelling. We spent the next few minutes talking about things they were willing to give up, too. One said, “Yelling at my sisters.” (…I guess you can “catch” behaviors…). One said, “Bad attitude.” One said, “Pizza!” (…We’ll give her a couple of years to catch up…).
We then drew a picture of our sacrifices on a 3×5 card and proceeded out back to the burial site. We dug a hole and we placed our cards in the hole. We talked to the kids about making choices in life and how can accept our bad behaviors or get rid of them. And in the crisp, cool weather that afternoon … we buried sarcasm, yelling and bad attitudes.
When you decide that you are tired of just “getting by” with the same old attitudes, then you can do something about it. When you are ready to “play to win,” then you can make a change. If you are ready to make a change in your life, I suggest that you have your own burial ceremony. Here are few things to remember:
- It is never too late. A habit is never too old to break. It may be difficult, but you can decide to change your patterns of behavior whenever you want. You also don’t need a house full of children in order to decide to change. Your behaviors may affect a spouse or a friend. They may affect your health or your work. The important aspect is that you can decide to change … today.
- It takes a plan. Concerned about my sarcastic words, I knew that I needed to do something more than stop talking. (…I talk for a living…). Instead, I knew that I had to write down on paper what I was willing to set aside for my children. I had to admit that I was wrong. I then had to take a physical act of abandonment. You may not need a ceremony. Perhaps you want to reign in your spending—try freezing your credit card in a bag of water in the freezer. Addicted to swear words? Set up a “swear jar” and donate some Benjamins every time you cuss. Make a plan and stick to it.
- It may fail, but stay focused. Finally, realize that you are human and that you are likely to fail. In fact, just a few moments after I buried sarcasm yesterday, I found my silver tongue snapping at my wife about something she had asked me to do weeks ago. Luckily, she was smart enough to remind me about our burial ceremony and she put me back in place. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Men succeed when they realize that their failures are the preparation for their victories.” When you realize that you are going to fail, you are free to succeed. Henry Ford failed numerous times in business before he finally went on to build the Ford Motor Company.
Question: What have you let in your home that needs a burial ceremony?