You've probably heard that phrase, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." I had a chance to test it out yesterday.
The kids and I walked a couple of blocks to a neighbor's house so they could all ride bikes. In our neighborhood, the kids generally ride in the street, but my friend and I aren't ready to let our kids do that without us--they just aren't yet aware enough of traffic. So we stood outside, watching them and shouting out frequent reminders. ("WATCH FOR CARS!!!")
After the kids had been riding awhile, their energy was waning. A couple of them were hanging out on the sidewalk, and a couple others were on the grass.
Suddenly, a car turned onto the street and zoomed past. The speed limit is 30 miles per hour, and I bet the driver was going at least 45.
"That makes me so mad!" I said to my friend. I saw the driver park several houses down. "I kind of want to give her a piece of my mind!" Even though our kids were out of the way, they could just as well have still been playing in the street.
I'm not normally a very confrontational person, but when drivers are unsafe in residential areas, I take it personally. So I started walking toward the house where the car was parking. It took a minute to get there, which gave me time to cool down. And I decided if I wanted this neighbor to listen to me, I should treat her in a neighborly way.
"Excuse me," I called as I approached. I had a smile on my face and used a polite tone of voice. "I'm not sure if you realized how fast you were going," I said. "Honestly, it kind of freaked us out, because our kids are playing outside."
"Oh, I'm sorry," the woman replied.
"Maybe you can just keep that in mind next time," I said, still in a friendly tone.
She was smiling, in an embarrassed sort of way. She wasn't defensive or angry. "Okay," she replied.
I don't know if our little conversation made a difference or not. At the very least, I bet it was more effective than if I had come to her screaming and cursing. (Mommy Rage can be more potent than Road Rage!)
Let's hope this is one time that a little "honey" worked!