OK, so this week I'm taking a detour. Normally, this is a place where I shed some male perspective on life, but today, I'm making way for a better man than me...
One of the things I find most helpful in all relationships is word pictures. Growing up I was always told to use statements like "I feel" rather than the more accusatory, "You did such and such..." The logic being that when you present an offense in such a way, the offender is less likely to become defensive, and a peaceful resolution can be acheived. This is a trick that works more often than not, and almost all the time if you creatively present your fellings by using a word picture. Sadly, our famlies, indeed our culture, has lost that art of debate and would much rather throw pies and call each other names (these are adults and leaders?) which is why what I am about to share with you is all the more amazing...please read the following, copied verbatum from a story written by a seven- year old...
"The Star Berry"
This story takes plance in California, 1998.
Once there was a boy. The boy had 1 sister. They would always play and be nice to each other. But one day that all changed. The boy's mom had a baby boy. The baby boy got the attention and the girl gave her attention to the baby boy. The boy asked his sister if she wanted to play with him but every time she didn't notice the boy talking.
The baby boy grew up. It was 2004. The girl didn't pay attention to any of her brothers. They all started to fight. Two years passed, they still didn't stop fighting. Then the boy's mom had another baby. The sister paid attention to the baby sister. The big big brother had had enough. He said, "I'll move to an open space where no one will annoy me." So he did. He was a long way from home.
He went into this old shop. Someone was selling berries. The guy said, "here, a free berry. This one is magic." The boy was so excited he ran back home, but no one was there. He was scared. He had only four dollars. He didn't have enough money to buy a house. He wondered, "where are they?" He then said, "they might be at our old, old house." He ran to his old, old house. They were not there. Then he remembered the magic berry! He said, "I wish my family was here." And then they were. "Mom, dad, sister, brother, I'm sorry. From now on I will never fight with you again." "Me too," said his sister. "Me three," said his brother. And they tried to live happily ever after.
I think you are wondering who the big brother is? It's me. And I will try to keep my promise."
Cameron wrote that. Cameron, the middle child. In two pages he was able to reveal so much about what is going on in that little spirit of his. Impressively, he was able to apologize, but also convey what was frustrating him. He may not be Roald Dahl, but this story is the best I've ever read. Imagine if we could all get over our hang ups, get over ourselves, long enough to communicate so effectively to those we love. I'm inspired, I hope you are as well.
NEXT WEEK: Did you hear? Men have a time of the month too. Find out what to look for and why we feel vulnerable...