I heard a great teaching from Rolf Gates recently: Choose to be the adult. He gave this teaching to his advanced teacher trainees for their homework assignment over the holidays. This is a brilliant assignment for everyone! As I’ve reflected on this teaching, I’ve had profound insights. Choosing to be the adult is hard work and is usually the last thing I think about when visiting family over the holidays. We all have a need to be heard, understood, and loved for who we are and what we are feeling in the moment. But most adults do not have the skills to offer this kind of listening. When hurt or insulted, we tend to fall into a knee-jerk reaction or pattern of either lashing out (the maximizer) or disappearing and going silent (the minimizer) whenever our feelings are hurt.