The other day in the car, our family was talking about bee stings.
My daughter Lucy shared her personal strategy: “When I’m around a bee, I just try to stay out of the way.”
A good strategy for dealing with bees.
It occurred to me that it’s a pretty good strategy for dealing with people who have Adultitis, too.
A child life specialist came up to me after a speaking engagement in Connecticut. She wanted to know how to deal with people that have Adultitis. She gave an example of putting together a fun themed sports day for the hospital, and being disappointed that so many people refused to participate by doing something as simple as wearing a t-shirt from their favorite team.
“What can we do to get them more involved?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I said. Although I really wanted to say, “Why would you want to? Your job is all about the kids. Focus on them.”
Dealing with Adultitis-ridden people is always tough. It’s a common trap to focus on the people who could sting us: the ones who don’t get what we’re doing, criticize us, question our motives, or roll their eyes at us.
Let their eyes roll right out of their heads, I say. Don’t waste a moment trying to cure them of their Adultitis. More often than not, we just end up infected ourselves.
Easier said than done, I know. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we might admit that we kind of like focusing our attention on the bees. The drama it adds to our lives gives us a sweet hit of satisfaction, but without any nutritional value. And Adultitis loves it, too, because it keeps up distracted from doing things that actually matter.
So when it comes to those irritants that occasionally infiltrate our lives, yes, invite them to participate. Share your joy, by all means. But if they’re not buying what you’re selling, move on. As my Grandma liked to say, “Raspberries to ’em.” Save your energy for the people you have the best chance of helping.
In other words, when you’re around a bee, try to stay out of the way.