There is nothing more humbling than when your teenager repeats, almost verbatim, the lecture you gave her a few hours prior.
It all started late last week when my teen experienced some relationship hiccups at school. She poured her heart out to me through tears about her hurt, the betrayal and the actions she took in response. We talked about why her angry reaction might not have been the best choice. So, we sat together and gathered the facts. We discussed how information she received could have been faulty and even misrepresented to her. “Honey,” I said, “the only way you can truly know what is happening is to confront the source. Share what you know and that will shine light on the situation. This gives the other an opportunity to defend his or her position and possibly resolve the conflict before everything gets out of control and relationships are destroyed.” My daughter had a “Goliath problem” that required one small action. She agreed that she would need to face this problem head on.
Later that evening, while a friend and I discussed some changes happening in our school district that we weren’t sure we agreed with, my sweet daughter chimed in: “Hey mom, remember what you said?” She reiterated our earlier conversation and finished with, “If you confront that issue, then I’ll confront mine.”
Sure enough, my daughter bounced off the bus Monday afternoon and proclaimed how relieved she was for confronting her issue.
Fear has kept me quiet too long. My turn. School Board Meeting. 7:30. Same night.
When the board asked for audience recognition, I spoke. As I’ve yet to see the minutes, I’m not really sure what I said. I only know that I approached the board with my concerns out of love and passion for my children and their education. As evidenced by my shaky voice and occasional loss of words, I did not enter that arena on the attack. I’m glad I didn’t, because the one thing I am sure of is that I saw staring back at me faces of elected officials in my district who share a similar heart and passion for education. How do I know this? Those elected officials, our school board, are volunteers. I’m not sure about you, but I have never taken on a volunteer position in my life unless I really cared about the service I was providing. Secondly, several members thanked me for bringing my concerns to their attention. I came to understand that they are just people who want to hear from us; that is why they took on their roles.
In general, I have always avoided confrontation. I viewed confrontational issues as Goliath in nature and myself as one of the soldiers who preferred to stay back with the pack in the hopes that David might arrive soon. I came to learn that this approach to life rarely works. Complaining to others who have no power over the situation or, even worse, allowing it to fester and eat away at us, does no good; it only serves to exacerbate the problem and increase the gap that exists in the relationship. And so I’m learning that confrontation when done out of love and respect can result in understanding and change.
Did I come out of the meeting with the issue settled? No. I did not. However, a great dialogue developed as a result, and many points of view were shared. The topic is open for discussion and will be resolved as more details become known; I’m confident of that.
Do you have a Goliath problem or person in your life? Although David handled his Goliath with a stone and a sling, such violence isn’t usually necessary when we confront our giants. Share what you know. Listen. Who knows? Resolution might be simpler than you think.