Diplomacy is an Art

This morning on Sunrise – yes we are Sunrise fans, Julia Gillard – Our Aussie Prime Minister was asked by some officials in India, if she liked Tony Abbott – the oppositional leader here in Oz.   

Image(Thanks Google images)

I am neither a Gillard or Abbot fan, our Politics here in Australia has become a time of personal flinging matches rather than making decisions on the issues for the people of Australia.  I may be completely wrong here – but it seems to me that our Pollies spend more time attacking one another than fighting for the cause.  What do they actually stand for? What are we voting for when we go to the polling booths….?   I want to know what I am voting for, don’t you?

So, getting back to topic.    Julia Gillard is in India at the moment and she was asked if she liked Oppositional leader Tony Abbott.   I love her response.   Its a very diplomatic and interesting response considering she called him Sexist and a Misogynist just last week.    Diplomacy can go out the window when your angry, but when your in another country and being scrutinized by the leaders of this other country its amazing how diplomatic one can be.  So what did Julia say – ‘I wish him no ill will, and I hope that he is the oppositional leader forever!’

How clever was that.  I loved it!    She really did kick butt on that one!  

Obviously she doesn’t like him – how could she…Tony Abbott is antagonistic.  He shreds her to pieces every time there is a media coverage – If only they (particularly Abbott) argued the pros and cons of the real issues, instead of ripping Julia’s character apart every chance he gets.    Oops, thats not very diplomatic of me, now is it?

So this morning, as I dropped the kids at school and had to deal with a bully issue with regard to Bethy – Bethy is not the bully by the way.   I kept thinking to myself that when you treat people well, your reputation proceeds you.    It is so important to treat other people with respect and its so important to be diplomatic in the way you deal with and respond to situations.  

If I was a nasty pasty I could take on the bully and her mother in a very hurtful and disgraceful way.   However, that is not how I work.   I prefer to work with a little grace, and a little humility.   I have told Bethy and her teacher that when this child is calling names to either Bethy or any of the other children she is to just say the child’s name, and then if you don’t have anything nice to say, then its best if you don’t say anything at all.   

I don’t want Bethy in an awkward situation where this child has the power over her, we know that she lies – but we don’t want Bethy getting into trouble because she reacts to this child inappropriately.  Bethy is a good kid…she is quirky and in need of some time with no bullying issues.   

So I have decided to teach the kids the art of diplomacy.  The dictionary says the word ‘diplomatic’ implies the  ability to avoid offending others or hurting their feelings. The word diplomatic suggests a smoothness and skill in handling others, usually in such a way that one may have their needs or their desires met and avoid any unpleasantness or opposition. It is possible that by conducting oneself  diplomatically a person can avoid antagonising others.  I do believe that this is true – It is possible!  

So this is how I see the job as a parent.  I am a mum – I have 4 pairs of eyes looking at me, watching how I live my life, they are constantly working out whether my actions and my words equal each other .    In many respects it is a hard life, sometimes situations occur when one would like to throw the ‘art of diplomacy’ out the window – baby and bathwater.  However, I know that when my kidlets have issues and the rubber is meeting the road, they need to know how they should conduct themselves.   

I have witnessed over the years, many a ‘parent tantrum’, and have been forced to question what the right way of conducting myself in that situation might be.    As we were leaving the school today, a teacher said to Bethy that this child that Bethy is having issues with has a hard home life and we need to ‘love her’ into being a nice person.   While I see that this teacher’s intentions were nice, I have issue with the idea that my child is not this child’s punching bag while she struggles through life to become a nice person.   Hopefully this child will grow into a nice person but at this moment in life I find that difficult to believe.    She will have to stop lying to start with.

So how can Bethy be diplomatic in this situation.   Well, she can be nice to this child and encourage the nice part of this child out, but if this child is being nasty, she has the right to be assertive.   I believe that we teach others in how to treat us, so its important that Bethy can defend herself.  The difficulty is that defending ourselves can get us into trouble when we aren’t diplomatic in the way we respond to situations or bullies.  Bethy has been instructed to use the phrase ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, then its best that you don’t say anything’.  

Bethy should not have to put up with being bullied by a child who is distasteful, and is a known bully.   Life throws us all curve balls that effect our self esteem…I am certainly not going to allow a bratty bully to mess with Bethy’s self esteem or her mental health.   There are too many news reports on television talking about young people taking their own lives because of bullying and falling into the trap of despair.  The art of diplomacy is an important issue that we need to teach our kids.

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