Post by Tori Kissner, Family Support Specialist
I distinctly remember a “game” my grandfather used to play with me that taught me more life values than most childhood games I ever played; I believe he called it “Bug Hunting.” He was a fisherman and taught me that buying bait was a waste of money, since it was more fun (and free) to go and find worms in the dirt. Finding worms became a competition between my brother and I, making the whole game more ‘profitable’ for my grandfather, since we always ended up with more worms that way. The game evolved on a warm Sunday afternoon, however, when I was about 5 years old. As it turned out, my aunt is absolutely petrified of worms, and my grandfather knew it (I did not at the time). The game evolved from finding the bugs, to my grandfather using my devoted obedience to him to scare my aunt. He brought me close to him, saying “Aunt Jenny loves worms, Tori. Why don’t you go give her one? She’d love it! And if she runs away and screams, it’s just part of the game, so you have to chase her until she takes it from you to win!” Being five, I believed every word. I ended up chasing my screeching aunt through a field for about 10 minutes. Needless to say, I never “won”.
But being an adult now, I remember this game and now see it as a life lesson in personal management. Allow me to explain:
While I can go on a personal ‘bug hunt’ to find what it is that “bugs” me (finding my own personal triggers for anger, frustration, etc), there will always be other people who will find them for me. That’s the beauty in human interaction: allowing others to teach you something you did not know about yourself before you met them. There are certainly days I have felt that I could have gone without learning about a certain trigger, particularly if it was one for feeling annoyed, I later appreciated the opportunity and education.
A lot of people find the holiday season to be both a blessing and a curse, which is the perfect recipe for a ‘bug hunt’ to occur. So this holiday season, give yourself some time to go on your own ‘bug hunt’ to proactively find your own triggers and develop ways to overcome them or, better yet, eliminate them. Talk to your friends, family, coworkers, or community professionals such as your Family Support Specialist on stress management techniques, coping skills, and ways to make the holidays inclusive, safe, and fun for the whole family.
Happy Hunting and Happy Holidays!