I remember working on cars at my job during high school and being told that we were working on the second most expensive possession for most people. Second only to ones home. So, when we came home last weekend after an afternoon out watching soccer, running errands, etc., to find water dripping from our kitchen ceiling, we went into a mild state of panic. Panic does not put your mind in a state to act properly, even if it is mild, and the leak made me freak.

The boys were trying to be helpful, hanging around, watching closely and telling me what they were doing, what I should be doing and what was going on around us. The constant chatter and commotion caused by all of this in addtion to the leak, the emergency call to my father-in-law and the chaos all the above created was more than I could handle. I didn’t yell at the boys or anything that out of line but I did ask them to go away for a little while, to hang out in their rooms and to be quiet so I could listen for running water and drips.

The boys didn’t seem to be too worried about it, they seemed equally concerned about our ceiling and the state of the leak. But afterward, as is often the case when we look back at our actions and regret the way we handled things, I felt bad. I made sure to spend some time with them once the dust settled and we would calmly talk about the leak, the holes created in the ceiling to track down the leak (ended up coming from the master bathroom toilet) and what we were going to do next. It was enough to put their minds at ease and helped me to do the same.

The old habit of counting to ten would have come in handy had I thought about it then. It would have made sense to do something to center myself, to take a breath and think about my reactions before I made them. Sure, we don’t always do what is sensible in times of urgency but that is why we must practice it often, so that when time comes to use it, being calm and thinking is our natural reaction, not going straight to crisis mode. Beause that only makes us look like a drip.