Mar 25, 2010

Have A Values Collision? Can You Accept It?


A note about Values Collisions, and to stress the essential ambiguity of dealing with troubling behaviors of others that don't really affect our own lives, here is a famous and profound verse by Reinhold Niebuhr which says it all:

The Serenity Prayer

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

This is not a prayer for change. It is merely a dramatic way of making the important point that we need to accept the reality that some things can be changed and some things cant.

In the case of values, it takes courage to attempt to change your child through modeling or consulting, or change yourself through a careful examination of the real worth of your values and your child's. If change is possible and desirable and you don't make the attempt, you, the child, or the relationship may suffer. But blind determination to change the child or yourself when no change is really possible can be just as destructive. The serenity prayer urges you to use wisdom in deciding which course to follow.

Serenity comes with the realization that after the use of all your skills, the number of remaining unacceptable behaviors and values is very small compared to the satisfaction gained from the warm, caring relationship you have helped create. You may decide ultimately to put up with a small number of unacceptable behaviors this time "for the relationship's own good."*

*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's F.E.T. Adult Resource book

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