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Don’t Kick the Cat – Teaching Moment

The story of kicking the cat is about a person having a bad day and passing on those negative feelings to others. Says so: Jim is angry that the morning traffic has made him very late for work. Shortly after arriving at work, he starts yelling at his assistant about a report he needs. Alice, the assistant, calls the manager who did not deliver the report on time. Very bluntly, Alice tells the manager to give her the report right away. Jack, the manager, is very upset but complies. Jack is still angry when he walks home after work. Unfortunately, the unsuspecting cat walks through the front door just as Jack walks in. Kick! * The cat did nothing wrong, but it took the brunt of the bad day from Jim to Alice, to Jack, and finally to the cat. Why?

What if they had compartmentalized their negative feelings and not conveyed their anger to others during the day? Often times when someone is having a bad day, they seek to share the load. If there is a legitimate concern, handle the situation by all means. However, these concerns are often not legitimate.

They are simply annoying attempts by someone trying to attract attention, bring drama into the room, or show that they have some perceived power. Acknowledge negative feelings for what they are. If they are legitimate, act accordingly, but don’t pass negative thoughts on to others. If they are simply attempts to kick the cat, then you should be the one to stop the negativity.

Ideas for implementation

  1. Watch when people get angry and see how they deal with those feelings.
  2. The next time you get upset about something, examine your reactions.

Discussion questions:

  1. Think of a recent event that has bothered you. Was your response appropriate to the event or did you overreact?
  2. Why did you react that way?
  3. What will you do different next time?

Good luck! You are a winner! * I paraphrased this story from Zig Ziglar, one of the world’s leading motivational speakers. Weave homemade humor and inspiring stories to give you valuable life lessons. I encourage you to get their CDs. Please visit www.TeachingMoments.com

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