They’re so stressed; they can’t tell a real tiger from a paper tiger.”
I’ve been thinking and writing in my head every day getting ready for our new website launch. And I keep getting from Jan; say about that blog you’re writing. There have been so many things to write and nothing was falling out in the right order for me to ramble which is what I do when I blog. (Funny just had a typo that said glob.)
Today when driving to work, I was listening to this year’s cabinet CD. Each year, our campaign cabinet selects a song that inspires them to do this work. Sharilyn Cano had selected “Nothing More.” It’s a cool song. Here are some of the words…
To be humble, to be kind.
It is the giving of the peace in your mind.
To a stranger, to a friend
To give in such a way that has no end.We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and nothing more
As I was singing away in my car, I saw a woman so exasperated digging in her purse and she started to cry. She was doing a lot of things in that moment: digging in her purse, trying to cross the street, and with whatever else was going on, it became too much. I wanted to stop. I didn’t. I got to the light and there was a man who had a cart full of things, wearing a big heavy coat (it’s not that cold yet) and had his face planted against a store window. I wondered what he was thinking and doing. What might he be seeing in that store front? I kept driving when the light turned green and the song was still playing.
Friday night, I went to see the documentary “Paper Tigers.” It’s a documentary about creating a trauma informed high school in Walla Walla, Washington. The principal had amazing results. To me, the film is about de-escalating students and then talking about what’s up rather than talking about what’s up in the moment. I kept thinking about how easy I am to talk to when I’m fired up. How about you? There’s an amazing line in the movie. The principal is talking about the students and the levels of toxic stress in their lives. He said, “They’re so stressed; they can’t tell a real tiger from a paper tiger.”
Paper tiger is a literal English translation of the Chinese phrase zhilaohu. The term refers to something that seems threatening but is ineffectual and unable to withstand challenge. We all know adults who deal with so much stress it holds true. Imagine taking just a few moments to de-escalate those around us and then talk. It’s okay to know how people are. For real. Not that hey how are you and let’s go moment. Take a breath. Ask. Listen. And acknowledge. Life is fast. If we remember we are how we treat each other and nothing more. Cheerio,