Yesterday I had an interesting experience that confirmed a few things for me.
One of my daughters receives in-home therapy. We have five therapists a week in our home.
Side Note: My bride is an angel! I have spent the last several days in awe as I watch her manage the steady flow of therapists, three little people (ages 4, 3, & 1 1/2), cook GREAT meals, keep the house clean, and still have time to offer commentary on American Idol! Oh yeah, and she’s seven months pregnant! What have I been doing you ask? Painting the bathroom and prepping the living room for paint… and trying not to get in the way!
OK, back to the story…
At four years old my little lady is getting close to “go-to-school” age (Yea, I’m weepy about that).
As we consider special needs education we have to consider things like: cognitive expectations; physical expectations; social expectations; etc.
We have discussed these things and, our plans with the therapists. No one has disagreed with our plans… until yesterday.
Yesterday one of our therapists said, “I don’t think that your little girl is ready for the plan you have in mind.”
Keep in mind that Sherri and I have high expectations for “The Ladies” and are admittedly “Pushers.” At the same time we are aware that there are limitations.
After a lengthy conversation with this particular therapist I asked, “Why hasn’t anyone ever told us this? Why has everyone listened to our plans and just mumbled and nodded their consent?”
Her answer… “Cause we didn’t want to make you feel bad.”
WHAT THE HECK KIND OF ANSWER IS THAT?
Listen, I’d rather you tell me the truth and risk making me feel bad than to let me feel good and watch me make a HUGE, life-defining mistake!
Because of this input we are seriously reconsidering our educational plan for our little girl!
All I want to know is how many of our therapists talked with each other or thought to themselves, “This is a mistake! Their plan isn’t right for this little girl,” and said NOTHING!
And then I started thinking…
How many times have I watched someone make a really stupid decision and NOT said anything because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings or make them feel bad?
Here’s the scoop… that’s lame! Don’t think you’re being a friend if you care more about my feelings than my future. Don’t think you’re helping me if you watch me walk off a cliff because you don’t want to run the risk of hurting my feelings.
My respect for this particular therapist went through the roof yesterday. She said some tough stuff… she disagreed with us in a loving, but firm way and consequently she may have changed the course of our little girl’s future.
The moral of the story…
Life-changing conversations may hurt some feelings, but they are the litmus test of true love.
A few lessons:
- Not every disagreement is worth talking about. We should “Put it on the table” when we know facts that our friend does not know. If you know something that would help me make a better decision… tell me! Keep in mind though that it is possible for two people to have the same pieces of information and still make different decisions! You must ask, “What is to be gained by putting this disagreement on the table?” Remember, not all disagreements are equal in nature!
- Emotional puking is not helpful. If you are going to disagree with someone, respect his/her position but lay out the reasons why you disagree with them. Just saying, “I feel…” does not support your case, it is “Emotional puking,” and I will run when you do that! I need facts and anecdotes to persuade me.
- Do not be offended if the individual does not immediately accept your advice. He/she has thought about the decision he/she has made and will need time to rethink the issue.
- If you love me, you will tell me the truth and I will know you love me. If you love yourself you will run from the difficult conversation and watch me self-destruct and I will know that you do not love me.