Wisdom can be imparted in the most unexpected ways. I am not sure where I first heard this, but it definitely stuck with me, and has served me well. It was a short laundry list of things not to do when you are tired. I don't remember them all, but they are all common sense. The first one was: Do not make any big decisions when you're tired. The second piece of advice was not to have any major discussions.
This week we have had three out of four children sick with ear infections and chest colds. Our youngest one, under two years old, had an infection in both ears as well as the chest cold. A round of antibiotics would easily fix this for him. Couple that with Tylenol or Advil, and we would have been in for some smooth sailing. This little guy, however, does not like to take medicine. You would think I could hold a guy who's less than three feet tall … that was not the case! I'm not sure, it was late at night, but I think he might have body-slammed me the last time we tried to give it to him! It's a little foggy—I just came to while lying on the floor in the dark. OK, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but the point, is he doesn't like medicine.
For three days in a row we battled with him to take his medicine, causing all types of ruckus in our home. We tried putting it in pop. We tried putting it on candy. You name it, we tried it! No go! The pain in his ears and coughing kept him up in the night and as a result, kept us up. For three days straight we had maybe ten to twelve hours of sleep in total. As the hours and subsequent days wore on, the tension in our house began to climb. By the third day you could cut it with a knife. My wife and I begin to snap at each other over really small things. By the third day she wanted to talk about what had happened over the previous days. The problem was, we were both exhausted. As the conversation began, the tension began to mount again. That is when the wise saying from the laundry list of Don’ts came back into my mind: Don't have any serious discussions when you're tired. So that's what I said, and for me, that was a big deal! With no sleep I turn into a grouchy bear! Inevitably, my gracious wife agreed, and we decided to go to bed and discuss it in the morning.
That night we each had a full night’s sleep! Hallelujah! The next morning when we woke up, we had an entirely different perspective! The things that were bothering us and had seemed huge just the night before, almost melted away. To be clear, we did not go to bed angry; we just decided to have the needed conversation the next day instead. Though we still needed to work a couple of things out, we were able to approach it with fresh eyes and make a better plan going forward. So if you are exhausted, especially with young children, be aware when you're having
those big conversations. Having those kinds of conversations when you are tired will often lead to blowups. These blowups can lead to words you may end up regretting, and actions that can never be taken back. Therefore, agreeing to sleep on it may end up being the best option all around.
God bless and thank you for reading.
All the best, Jeff Barnhardt