Count To 10


Count to ten is a familiar saying to those of us with quick tempers and short fuses. We’ve either said that to someone or have had it said to us.  Not usually a comforting or welcoming imperative.

This is to slow down the escalation of a heated discussion or the beginning of a serious argument. It is meant to stop the negative thinking process and distract yourself with counting.

Sometimes is works and sometimes it doesn’t, as while one is counting to ten the opponent is formulating his/her next point of opposition in the argument.

Or one either counts 12345678910 as quickly as they can (rather than 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 and so on) so they can get right back into the dispute. This gives them time to formulate their next volley in the quarrel.

Many of such confrontations are between family members, close friends or fellow workers. That means there is an emotional component to the clash or row.  This complicates things as the relationship will continue long after the “dust settles”.

Words spoken are impossible to retract. One may apologize and try to make amends but the words have been spoken, heard and remembered.  An argument takes on its own identity and is an entity of serious and sometimes damning consequences.

We are so blinded by the rhetoric that we cease to see the person we are sparing with and see only an opposing opinion, thought or plan. We are all out to “win” this battle; sometimes at all costs.  This makes “making up” difficult, slow and arduous.

I propose another method of counting to ten. One that will bring civility back into the clash and make it easier to turn it into a discussion of ideas where each one respects each other and employs good communication skills, Namely each one listens and hears the other one out and each one repeats what they (thought) they heard.

This other method is that when you count to 10, link each number with a quality you like about the other person.

  1. He/she has my back.
  2. We see eye to eye on …
  3. He/she has an upbeat personality.

Depending upon how close the relationship is invite the opponent to also count in the same way. Take turns saying each number and statement out loud.  This diminishes the level of hostility and puts the disagreement in perspective.

You know the line from a song “when you are worried and cannot sleep, count your blessings instead of sheep..”

Our loving God has given us many blessings and they are spread out in the people that He puts in our lives. Our sin keeps us from focusing on these blessings that each person brings into our lives. These sins prevent us from enjoying the blessings He has given us through those around us.

So we as sinners are bound to have spats with those in our circle of life, but there is a way to mitigate these outbursts.

It is only through the love of our heavenly Father, His Son Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit that we can know these blessings. It is through the forgiveness of those myriad of sins that we can even come before our God and give Him thanks for all He does for us on a daily basis.  And only then can we share that joy He gives us with those around us.


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