"Never judge a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins."
That's right kimo sabe!
I hear a lot of stories about anger between children and parents or couples or even in the business world. It's usually all a matter of "Point of view."
I might think you are lazy until I go through the same situation and then it's different. I will see things differently because of my new point of view. You might think I'm being mean in some situation until you receive one tiny bit of information that changes the viewpoint of the situation.
A lot of people have asked me what I think about going to a psychologist or psychiatrist. After all that's what I studied. Hundreds of professionals do a wonderful job and have helped a lot of people. There are some bad ones out there, but there are also some wonderful professionals. I personally love the boundaries books and with only a few cautions would recommend anyone to the services of Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
(If you want to pick up some of their books and would also like to support this website, you can do so through this link to Amazon.com)
However, you must approach professionals with the same understanding of "point of view."
When I talk with anyone about a personal problem the first thing I want them to understand is that I don't know it all. I don't know how their spouse acted in 1996 and I don't know how their child goes into defensive mode when grandma comes in the room. They can talk with me for days and I still wouldn't know everything I needed to know in order to properly judge the situation and provide a solution. Whatever I recommend has to be run through their knowledge of the people they are working or living with.
Let me explain. Suppose a parent asks me to provide a solution for a lazy child. "I can't get him to help wash dishes. We all take turns and when it's his turn he always tries to buy off the other siblings and get them to do it. What can I do."
I could go on and on about assigning chores, meaning what you say, bargaining etc. But none of those would work. Why? What if we were missing one piece of information. What if he has an allergy to the dish washing liquid? What if he doesn't know it's an allergy? What if every time he washes dishes his fingertips hurt, crack and bleed. He doesn't know where it's coming from and doesn't make the connection. All he knows - subconsciously - is that every time he washes dishes he hates it and it hurts. Or...suppose he's being teased at school about being feminine and every time he washes dishes subconsciously he is scared that they are right?
How do we go about finding that out? You get into his point of view. Before handling any stressful situation apply that old Indian proverb. Walk a mile in his shoes. Set aside a time to wash dishes with the child. Do it 10 times if you have to. Ask questions. Try to see the chore from his viewpoint.
Got a problem with your spouse. What is his viewpoint? Why is he/she doing what they are doing?
Got a problem with a co-worker. Maybe they aren't a jerk. Maybe they have a problem. Find the problem and you will see it from a different viewpoint.
Remember, that anytime you talk with anyone - professional counselors included; you must realize they can't tell you what to do with 100% accuracy. If they were not in the room when a situation happened or if they haven't lived with you for more than a year - they can't possibly know everything there is to know about how your family will react. Listen to what they say, but make adjustments according to the dynamics of your family.
For example, I like Dr. Dobson. He's done a great work and he seems to be on target most of the time. When my son was about 11 I heard him do a week long broadcast on what boys need. He talked about getting "all" boys into sports even if they weren't physically inclined. He said it would help them become team players even if they were last on the team. Dr. Dobson is a big sports fan and also talked about playing basketball with some star.
Sorry Dr. Dobson. That's just not good advice. I've seen too many children embarrassed and teased. Sports may have good points if you have the talent for it. But if a "nerdy" child is forced to play it can become a source of bullying and pain. For that reason I never forced my sons to play sports. What I did encourage was to pursue their "real" abilities. They both tried sports but on their own decided on other pursuits.
The same type of team abilities can be found in Drama, chess, debate teams etc. It's important that you take any information and apply it to your situation. Don't be afraid to challenge someone who's telling you what to do. And don't be afraid to stop your own rules long enough to see them from your child's point of view. They will love you for it and your home will reflect understanding and compassion.
God loves you,