TITAN-O-FALL or TITAN-OF-ALL — An Evening of A Father’s Attempt At Emotional Regulation For Maintaining Family’s Positive Energy

Today, while making lunch (Omelette, toasted bread, roasted mushrooms, green peas & tomatoes, and tea) for Aprajita and myself, it slipped from my mind that she had an ad-hoc meeting at 1:30 pm today. Perhaps, this information that I received today got overshadowed by the previous information I had from the last week about a pre-scheduled meeting at 2 pm.

It was only at 1:25 pm when I was about 80% done with my lunch preparation that it dawned upon me with a self-dialogue “oh no, her meeting is at 1:30 pm, and lunch isn’t prepared yet.”

Well, as the brain is programmed to trigger, it did, with a series of events — cortisol release — physiological preparation — choose between flight-fight-freeze sequence.

Now, being in an urban setting, with no apparent danger to my survival, my body had to channelise the extra adrenaline flow and energy pent up due to the brain’s defence sequence, yielding into self-criticism, imagining the worst possible — about self and picking all the past failures of my life (WOW, this is so unbelievable yet true, that how behaviour dynamics worked here – from creating a beautiful lunch memory to an emotionally destructive thought and speech).

We managed to have lunch together (with bouts of problem self-talks in my mind). I didn’t wish to transfer this energy to Aprajita. Therefore, considering she will be engaged in a long meeting session from 2 pm – 5 pm, I decided to calm myself.

As a first step, I went into my study room, watched funny videos, and listened to upbeat music. After a while, I felt much better, and by the time it was Ivan’s return-from-school time.

I went downstairs to pick him up from the bus drop-off point, and we returned home together.

While Aprajita was still in the meeting, Ivan started sharing his school day with me, like he usually does, and that is when he mentioned that he and his 4 tablemates (from his Grade 2 class) had come up with a new name for their team — TITANOFALL (a combination of Waterfall and Titanoboa to keep final suggestions they had for their teams during brainstorming). It felt like I was still having a residual negative outlook because I immediately said, does that mean you all are fated to fall, because, TITAN-O-FALL.

I know that it wasn't nice to say that to my child and demean his enthusiasm for sharing his day with me that I adore and look forward to in a day — every weekday. And by extension, it discounts the childrens' efforts to learn so many things every day (in my opinion, they are the maximisers of the VIA Strength "Love of Learning" ). Not only it isn't an appropriate example setting of dealing with emotional challenges, but also it might trigger an unnecessary negative downward emotional cycle for him (because every interaction we have can potentially change emotions and feelings).

Therefore, to shift gears, I asked him to take his evening snack – banana and a probiotic drink (thankfully, I had recovered enough to suggest with my executive function) and to which he kindly agreed.

And while he was on it, I took deep breaths for a few minutes to calm myself, and this time I mindfully chose not to beat myself up for speaking like that to him.

And voila, there I was, it struck me instantly, as if a result of a magical spell, that their team is TITAN-OF-ALL. And I couldn’t stop but share this idea with him and apologise for what I said earlier.

Ivan was thankfully in a positive and fun mood and kind enough to forgive me. Then I mentioned to him that maybe tomorrow he could ask his teacher to rename his team’s name from TITANOFALL to TITAN-OF-ALL — to which he enthusiastically agreed. I am hoping that something good might come up for him and his classmates from it.

And that is when I decided that this anecdote needs to come out because it might resonate with other families in their day-to-day lives for similar or different reasons. And that we can share, learn and grow together with vulnerability!

With Hope


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