Back to the present day. My wife had left early to take her friend to hospital to have an operation. This should have been fine as the two kids and I were asleep in adjoining mattresses. Somehow, my daughter’s Mummy radar realised that Mummy wasn’t there, and even though Daddy is just as capable of protecting her from actual danger, Mummy is the only person who makes her feel completely safe. So, she woke up early.
Now angry at Mummy for leaving her, she responded the way she’d seen me deal with my feelings: she sought revenge.
What could she do that would punish me the most? She could wake up her brother, and she kept trying until she succeeded.
In his book, Why Buddhism is True, author Robert Wright recalls seeking guidance from his teacher on a meditation retreat. He complains that he can’t focus on his breathing, his mind keeps wandering away. His teacher responded by saying that it was good that he had noticed.
Similarly, noticing that my daughter wakes her brother up to seek revenge is more illuminating than not seeing a pattern in her behaviour.
I am sure I will have many more opportunities to notice revenge seeking in both myself and my daughter. At some point, hopefully, I will take the next step and choose not to seek it.
Jeremy is the co-founder of the independent publishing house Leabrook Press and author of the books Graduates’ Guide to Work and Why Do I Lose Trading Forex? He also writes the blog Compounding Time which explores how we can best spend our time, now and into the future. After completing his tertiary education in mechanical engineering and commerce, Jeremy spent a decade in full-time supply chain roles across three diverse industries before deciding to refocus. He is now a father, publisher and part-time member of the work force. He lives in Adelaide, Australia, with his wife and two young children.