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My friend, Dr. Foster Cline, is a very wise man. His presentations offer one brilliant piece of advice after another. One of my favorites is, "Every childhood mistake handled well can become a learning experience. Every childhood mistake handled poorly can become the source of resentment."
Put yourself into this situation: You are a child who "borrowed" your dad's power screwdriver. You left it out in the driveway overnight, and now it's missing.
After finally getting up the nerve to admit this to your father, he replies, "Wow! I bet you feel pretty bad about that. I'm planning to do some repair work next weekend and I'm going to need that screwdriver back or I'm going to need a replacement. Let me know how you're going to solve that. Give me a hug."
How are you feeling at this moment? What are your feelings toward your dad? Are you mad at your dad or yourself? What kind of learning could take place?
Now suppose that Dad handles it this way instead and replies, "That was really stupid. What in the world were you thinking? How many times have I told you to leave my things alone? This is the kind of thing that really makes me mad. If you don't find the screwdriver, you're going to be grounded for two weeks, and I mean it!"
How are you feeling now? If this happens to be Dad's typical reaction, how many repetitions of these interactions need to take place before resentment builds? How much learning takes place when you see the other person as the source of your bad feelings?
You can hear many of Dr. Cline's wise words on the MP3 Download Allowing Kids to Choose Success. I like to listen to this audio in my car for both laughs and wisdom.
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Jim Fay
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