Elizabeth Willis Barrett
The other day our namesake grandson pushed his sister making her cry. I’m afraid Bapa’s and my voices were a little harsh because Barrett ran off and we couldn’t find him for a while. After a bit of searching in back bedrooms and closets, we found him sitting dejectedly on the stair. He had put himself in “Time Out.”
A few days later, Barrett threw a football in the family room which his Bapa didn’t catch. He’d been told not to throw the ball in the house (it definitely wasn’t Bapa who gave the command since, as always, Bapa was very much in the game) but Barrett threw it anyway, knocking down a lamp with the in-completed pass. “I’m going to Time Out,” he said and promptly put himself back on the stairs. This action sounded very much like, “You can’t fire me, I quit!”
We all sometimes need a Time Out and it’s better if we recognize and acknowledge it ourselves rather than waiting for someone else to suggest it. Time Out allows us time to think things over, reevaluate what it is we want to do, make plans for a new direction, breathe.
One of our daughters puts herself in Time Out often. Her kids think she’s punishing herself but Jana is delighted to go to her room, shut the door and be alone for a while.
When all my kids were little, I used to dream of a long Time Out, preferably at my Aunt Blanche’s in Rexburg, Idaho. I could’t think of a better place to catch my breath and be well cared for at the same time. It never happened, of course. Getting to Rexburg from Gilbert, Arizona, isn’t a very convenient trip. But I thought about it and what it might feel like to get away from constant requests and unlimited deadlines.
Some of my best Time Outs were Time Ins. I’d stay home and catch up while Brad took the kids away. When they returned, I was ready to resume our game plan.
Now that the kids are grown, I still have to put myself in Time Out. Getting on my bike and driving around the canal while I listen to a good book, working through a Cryptogram puzzle, going to lunch with friends, singing with my daughters–those work. A favorite Time Out is to get in the car with Brad and drive to the cabin. That makes a good get-away from decision making and demands since there isn’t a whole lot you can do while riding in a car except sip on a 44 ouncer, eat pepper chips and keep the driver awake.
And if family meets us at the cabin, it is the best Time Out of all!