website The following answers to readers questions may also help.
Over the next week or so, I'll be adding to this. If you would like to submit a question for me to answer please send it to email@example.com
1. Why did you start The Family Training Center?
There is psychological proof that when people have a problem, they can be reached and helped quicker by someone that has experienced the same problems. When I was counseling I found that to be true. I was trying to help a young lady who had been raped. I used every tool I had to get through to her. It wasn't working. No matter what information I gave her - since I had never been raped, it was just that....information. When I brought in an older lady that I could trust and told the young girl that she too had been raped as a teen.....the dam broke. They both melted into tears and we made great progress.
However, I've also seen the other side of just letting the wounded reach out. Often their information can be flawed or tainted by their experiences. Many times they can help restore emotional health but can't provide a road that "avoids" the problem or leads them to a better life.
I was counseling with a young boy who came from an extremely dysfunctional family. I put him on a behavior modification program and he was doing great. In one week's time he turned his schoolwork from all F's to all A's. His teacher was so impressed she called me to see what I was doing. She said he was a totally different boy. Unfortunately, one morning the mother called and said that he was off the program. She brought his materials back and explained that something was said at breakfast to irritate the father. The father threw his plate of food into the kitchen wall, stomped to his bedroom and began to cut up his own clothes.
I was stunned! There had been no discussion of these kinds of issues even though I had interviewed them extensively. "You know," I gulped and shook my head. "You know I can't help your son with issues that you and your husband won't correct or get help for." She looked totally puzzled and asked...."Why not?"
I spent another hour explaining how it all worked but she left uncommitted to changing her family's future.
It was then and there that I decided to start The Family Training Center. It doesn't matter if I've had a different life from yours. It doesn't matter if I've avoided most of the pitfalls that some people encounter. There are certain rules to life. If you don't understand those rules or why they are important, you won't have the "detailed" information you need to make a difference in your life. Without that "detailed" information you won't have the tools to make the changes that actually solve problems.
Most people buy books they think might help them solve problems. Most books are never actually read or studied. In our busy lifestyles we often purchase items, let them sit for months, finally read the chapter we think applies to our situation and then send the book to wherever we archive good ideas that don't materialize. For that reason, even with the explosion of written material that we have in this country; there is also a great explosion of ruined lives.
That's why I offer 80 classes. My classes are designed to give you lists and handouts and information so you can leave the class totally armed to go home and change your world. It's like being able to read multiple books and personally do the research needed to change your life - all in only two hours.
2. Sometimes on your blogs you seem a little harsh. Why is that?
I believe there are absolutes to life. If you break those rules or miss those ideas - no matter what you do, life won't turn out the best for you. We are all bombarded with information. The Internet, TV, radio, books, college....- everyone wants to tell you what you should think and how to live your life. With all that going on, sometimes I have to be harsh in order to get your attention. Sometimes I have to get passionate about what I'm saying.
Of course, I also believe that we should be compassionate and concerned about other people's feelings. That compassion must not get in the way of growth. If I'm so compassionate to you that I worry more about your feelings than about what's right for your life, I probably will dance around the truth rather than come right out and say it.
For example, I don't believe we do our children any favors when we overlook the truth to protect their feelings. I remember sitting my daughter on my lap and giving her a big hug. I explained that I had to tell her something very important. She was only 7 at the time and had a really bad habit. I gave her several compliments so that she knew how much we loved her and how valuable she was to the entire family.
Then I told her..."Amie, we have to talk about your habit of ------because it's going to ruin your life. I'm going to be totally honest with you. It may hurt your feelings now, but if you stop this....in the long run your life will be so much better." We talked about her bad habit and I explained that if she continued she would not only lose friends, but she would also lose our respect. She cried....I cried.....we prayed together and with a little help she stopped the bad habit. I probably couldn't have had that conversation if I did not have the reputation with my family that we were all on a quest for truth.
Which would have been more loving and compassionate? To let her continue making people angry? To let her lose friends? To deny that she was smart enough to change her life? I certainly didn't want to promote any of those false ideas.
Instead....I was saying to her that she WAS very capable of taking her life in hand and changing it to be the life she dreamed of. For the rest of her life she was convinced that when changes were needed she could do them! That real empowerment! This other political correctness, compassionate, liberal victimization junk actually imprisons a person rather than setting them free. It leaves them where they are. It says...."You are so weak there's no way I can let you see the truth! And even if you saw the truth there's no way you are strong enough to change!" How awful is that????
No thank you. I want to be as compassionate as possible without distorting the truth! That may be a process when counseling with an emotionally distraught person. That may be a process for someone reading my blogs. But that does not mean I should ever stop telling the truth!
I guess I hope that people reading my blogs and other materials will use me like a mirror. A chance to check themselves out and be sure they are on the right track. Check to be sure that the things I'm talking about are not happening in your life. And then....please pray that those who read my blog and see problems in their own lives will decide to make a change.
3. Is it right then to say that you believe in absolutes?
Absolutely! Ha ha...
Most liberals and a lot of good Christians don't like the word "absolute". They think it's a way to control them or to stop them from doing something fun. They have a negative connotation about the word "absolute". It's extremely important to search your own heart and be sure that you aren't being like a "spoiled" child when you hear the word "absolute".
Actually, the word is not about what you can't do. It's about what you can do! When you have found an absolute you have a foundation to build your life on. If everything in your life is constantly changing - then you will be off balance, you won't know where your going and you can't make a plan. After all, if there are no absolutes how do you know that the plan you have made has the foundation to support the future? Without absolutes....the foundation is always changing and so will your plans.
Think of it this way....If you put together a great plan for your life and it's built on 5 truths - but....those truths must change because you can't accept absolutes - your plan is eventually going to fall apart. Let's think of your life and your truths as a building. Your building is supported by the five truths each represented by a corner column and one in the middle.
A friend demands that you change your opinion of something because "You can't hold to that absolute". She bombards you with disjointed information and demands that if you are going to be compassionate you have to let go of that absolute. You decide it's not that important and the top right corner of your plan (building) drops. The drop in that side puts pressure on the middle column as well as two others. Much like the twin towers you building is now compromised and will have a hard time remaining stable. You are struggling but still able to continue with your plan. A few years go by and you think you have patched the one corner and although it's still weak because your reasons are weak, it's holding steady.
Unfortunately....the bottom left corner is challenged with such force that it totally collapses. Your life is in total chaos. The middle is sagging and the stress on the top right corner is causing it to shake.
Like an earthquake, you hold steady through some of the shaking but the building simply isn't secure. Eventually the entire thing is nothing more than rubble. With all your plans demolished, it's hard to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild.
Absolutes are only good building blocks if they are based on total and complete "TRUTH". You can't just pick an idea and call it an absolute. Let's use an Abraham Lincoln quote.
How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one!
How true! Just because you decide something in your life is going to be an absolute for you doesn't make it one. You have to do your research and be sure you have the "TRUTH". When you are armed with the truth you can build a life plan that won't let you down.
That's what Debbie Jansen and all her writings are really about!!!! I want the truth! I don't want a fake life. I don't want to demand my way and have a dysfunctional life. I don't want the problems that go along with believing a lie. I don't want to tell you something and then find out we both are deceived.
That's why in my book, Discipline Exposed, I tell parents how to help their children join them in a "Quest for Truth"! It's only when you are more concerned about finding the TRUTH rather than soothing your own feelings that you have a chance for a fantastic life!
I take my job seriously. I know that I'm giving you the tools to make your building strong. I simply will not support an idea that does not pass the "Quest for Truth" test.
Check back for more of an interview with Debbie
Does God have all the answers?
Are there solutions to every problem - part #1
Are there solutions to every problem - part #2
Send your questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org