It's a rainy morning here. The clouds are hanging low, the rain is pitter-pattering on my roof, and it's dark for this time of day at this time of year. The weather creates a mood - "atmosphere", if you will (pun intended!).
As I sit here on this gloomy morning, I think of an image in the book, "The Way I Feel" (by Janan Cain) of a boy sitting on his couch, looking out the window at the rain, with a baseball and baseball bat lying on the floor, feeling "bored and blue".
If you were his parent, what would you do?
If you're anything like me (i.e. human!) you'd be tempted to get him off the couch and do something else by saying something like, "Come on! No point being sad about the weather. Why don't you find something else to do!" and then list off all the things you think he could do. Of course, this approach would probably just trigger a frustrated response from him and get you both into an argument.
Yet, when we look at the picture on that page, it's so clear that ANYONE would feel "bored and blue" in that context. Probably disappointed too. His hopes to play baseball were dashed by something beyond his control, and while it's true there's nothing productive that can come from "feeling miserable about the weather", we all know that it's a reasonable feeling to have. Anyone seeing that image can totally relate to feeling sad when the weather (or any other random factor that is out of out control) interrupts our plans for the day. We'd be sad and disappointed too. So why can't we just say that?
What if, instead of working to get that boy off the couch and doing something else, we just acknowledged his reality and said something like, "It's disappointing that it's too rainy to play baseball, isn't it? I'd feel sad too if my plans were ruined by the weather." What might happen then? Perhaps he would agree with you, switch gears and be able to move on to another activity.
Give it a try sometime. What do you have to lose?