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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Day 3: Kindness and Respect Challenge (It’s hard to be kind when you’re stressed)

October 3, 2013

At the top of the trail a deer blocked our path and I freaked, albeit it quietly. In case you’re reading this from the snake and piranha invested Amazon and are thinking, “A deer?! Gimme a break!” we’re not talking Bambi here, we’re talking something along the lines of this (minus the frigid air, which also freaks me out):

Hey, hikers, where do you think you're going?

David quickly put our 6-month-old Pupster on leash, which reduced my anxiety a tad. Nothing like imagining your dog skewered on an antler to trigger a stress-response. And that’s really what this was about for me. Stress. The raw, unseasoned fear that the buck would decide deep within the recesses of its little deer brain, that we were a threat and needed to be run off the trail. I’m still mending from a broken foot bone and not quite back to walking straight, so the prospect of running for my life stressed me further. Ah, stress. And the adrenalin that drives it. That stuff makes us less likely to respond kindly and respectfully to anything.

With ominous intent, David and I flapped our arms. The Pupster wagged her tail fiercely. The deer just stood there. We stomped our feet. Nothing. We added a sound track of intimidating growls. The deer blinked. Then he took a tentative step toward us! At that point I considered picking up a rock and hurling it in Buck’s direction. But then I remembered The Kindness and Respect Challenge I’ve given myself this month. I took a deep breath and announced to David, The Pupster, the deer, and the Universe, “I will respond with kindness and respect.” With those magic words Buck turned away and walked uphill, into the trees.

Another skewering respectfully averted.

PS Check out Day 4 of the Kindness and Respect Challenge.


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