Brief systems refresher…..

by Rod Smith

Speak up, step up, and move forward.

1. Resist trying to maneuver (change, enhance, diminish) relationships where you, yourself, are not one of the parties.
2. Play postal service, clearing-house, or think-tank for no one – let others speak, act, and think on their own behalf.
3. Reduce reliance on the need to interpret or discern what you are thinking or feeling or what you desire or do not desire – by speaking up.
4. Subtle communication and non-verbal forms of communication are often open to misunderstanding. The more direct you can be the less likely you are to be misunderstood.
5. Avoid walking on the proverbial “egg-shells” and avoid putting them in place for others.
6. Yield to learning. The most unlikely people have a lot to teach you.
7. Resist manipulation by staying out of control – keep the rules, but stay out of control.

A reader responds:

“Thanks for ‘systems refresher’ (You and Me, March 10). We have a complex situation with our children who married into broken, dysfunctional families. They have brought all their problems with them into our own family and caused a rift in what was once a united, loving sibling relationship. I have been broken hearted over it. We have tried counselling them, prayer, advice, tears, all to no avail. As a Christian, I felt the Lord was telling me to leave it to Him, and to just continue to love each one.Your comments confirmed this. I hate conflict and will do anything to avoid it. I was brought up by a loving father, who was also a ‘shouter’ during conflict, and who terrified me in these situations. Also, I must comment on your view on ‘spanking’. When we were young inexperienced parents, we were told that God required us to spank our children for EVERY disobedience, a method we tried with devastating results. Mercifully we soon discontinued this. The couple who gave us this advice now have four adult children with major psychological problems. We have 5 children, and we gave them the occasional hiding for blatant disobedience but that was the exception rather than the rule. Anyway, thank you for a thought provoking column.”

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