April 19, 2023- As the tall child lay on the floor, screaming, it was abundantly clear that going home was not on the agenda. It was all about playing with a classmate’s toy, and that was that. Eventually, one step at a time, two team members and a bus monitor got the child on the bus-and the toy that was out of reach was likely forgotten. It is the moment, and only the moment, that matters.

Tantrums are hard, for those of us who have become inured to life’s challenges, to understand-until we become tired, and a bit cranky. Then, we let loose with plaints of our own, though hopefully, not by lying on the floor, or the steps of a bus, and wailing in full voice. That we continue to fall into a flailing cycle at all, even verbally, is sad-but it’s part of being human.

Last week, while managing the Red Cross shelter, I felt discomfited by what, in retrospect, were mild criticisms coming from both above and below. Once those complaints were addressed, to the extent possible, it was clear that much of the outcry was based on opinion, not on actual threats to the well-being of residents and staff. Those above me issued a warm card, which I received in today’s mail and those alongside me were uniformly clear in their satisfaction with how the operation had gone during my tenure -and was continuing to flow, under my successor, It is the system, properly applied, and not the personality of the middle manager, or of any other staffer, that makes the operation flow smoothly.

No demand can ever bear fruit, unless all aspects of the situation that brought it into being, and all possible outcomes and consequences of its posting, are considered. This is a fact lost on a flailing child, but one that should never be ignored by a disconsolate person of maturity.

4 thoughts on “Tantrums

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