Archive for August 2012

A HEALTHY WOMAN IS A CRAZY PERSON   14 comments

I’m thinking of reviving this topic which at one point was a hit in Connecticut — bumper stickers, T-shirts, and all.

Now I’m looking for reactions. I’m going to leave this post up for a while, hoping lots of you will respond telling me what it means to you. That will help me know whether I should revive it, and if so what can I expect it will mean to you.

In other words, I’m looking for advice.

JUST A THEORY?   6 comments

The expression “just a theory” gives me chills. It implies that whatever is being referred to is just some off the top of the head conjecture. As a matter of fact, for scientists, the term “theory” is an honorific applied only to a well verified collection of data which lead to further exploration and experimentation. The only superior term for scientists is “law,” as in Newton’s Law of Gravity. The most important thing about the word “law” is that it leads to further testing and further discoveries which might lead to modification of the original law while adding to new knowledge. The same is true for theory. Theory and Law are the strongest bases for using our God-given intellect and curiosity to learn ever more about God’s creation.

Personally, I have a hard time with the belief that we should somehow ignore that major part of who we are. As in the story of Job, we overstep our bounds when we decide we know more than the creator and should stop at some human-defined doorway and go no further in learning about the gift of the universe.

Maybe it’s better said by the United States National Academy of Sciences.

“Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science,the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature that is supported by many facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena.”

Theory, as in the theory of evolution, depends on the glorious gift of curiosity, exploration, and understanding with which humans have been endowed.

Or maybe Bill Nye the Science Guy, says it better.

WELCOMING A FRIEND – FINALE   2 comments

Today I’m adding the final bulleted suggestions on helping someone decide how to handle a forgiveness issue. All are from pages 4-5 of When to Forgive . Please remember, this is not about a command to forgive. Telling someone to forgive is dangerous. It might result  in a quick recitation of “I forgive” without the hard work behind it and accomplishment of the real and important gains of a good forgiveness decision. Shame might be added to the pain of suffering an offense if the victim believes in the “ought to forgive” and can’t. That’s the hazard of sermons — religious or otherwise — that tell the sufferer he or she must forgive. Realistically there may be actions the sufferer must take before genuine forgiveness. Or, it’s even possible that the sufferer might be better off choosing not to forgive. “When to Forgive” is about making and carrying out a decision after careful thought and work.

So, here goes,the final complete list of what you might do to help someone trying to deal with the pain of an offense as he or she considers the forgiveness option.

  • Be a good listener. Telling his or her own story is absolutely crucial to a person’s recovery from the effects of an offense. Encourage giving details, but don’t press your own advice or suggestions. Ask questions that encourage going into depth, but be sensitive to the person’s own self-regulating system. Don’t push beyond what he or she is ready to report. There are situations of extreme trauma where the victim is better off not remembering what happened.
  • When your friend is asked to ‘probe the wound,’ ask for as much detail as possible. In fact, you may know the situation well enough that you can remember some things your friend has forgotten. But let your friend be in control of how much he or she can tolerate.
  • You can discuss and help clarify, but don’t impose your own view. You can also help your companion fend off the efforts of others to dictate their beliefs.
  • Your friend making the journey may want you to provide some feedback. Sometimes you may observe things that he or she doesn’t readily see. Often it’s the positives that people have difficulty identifying in themselves.
  • As the book progresses, you can serve by moving beyond being the effective listener to being a good discussant. Perhaps you’ll be invited to talk over some ideas presented in the problem-solving phase. Remember to take direction from your friend; let the sufferer tell you how active he or she wants you to be in offering ideas.
  • As your friend moves closer to making a decision, the fact that you are familiar with the offense that has occurred, and the people involved, makes you a good potential resource for considering the practicality of any punishment options that may be considered.
  • You may gain some insights about yourself in this process and want to get feedback on what you are learning. But remember the focus is on helping to heal the person who suffered the offense.

NOT AN OUGHT OR A MUST, BUT WHETHER AND HOW   6 comments

Today I’m adding the fourth bulleted suggestion from pages 4-5 of When to Forgive. First, though, a reminder. This is not about a command to forgive. Telling someone to forgive is dangerous. It might result  in a quick recitation of “I forgive” without the hard work behind it and accomplishment of the real and important gains of a good forgiveness decision. Shame might be added to the pain of suffering an offense if the victim believes in the “ought to forgive” and can’t. That’s the hazard of sermons — religious or otherwise — that tell the sufferer he or she must forgive. Realistically there may be actions the sufferer must take before genuine forgiveness. Or, it’s even possible that the sufferer might be better off choosing not to forgive. “When to Forgive” is about making and carrying out a decision after careful thought and work.

So, here goes, more on what you might do to help someone trying to deal with the pain of an offense as he or she considers the forgiveness option.

  • Be a good listener. Telling his or her own story is absolutely crucial to a person’s recovery from the effects of an offense. Encourage giving details, but don’t press your own advice or suggestions. Ask questions that encourage going into depth, but be sensitive to the person’s own self-regulating system. Don’t push beyond what he or she is ready to report. There are situations of extreme trauma where the victim is better off not remembering what happened.”
  • When your friend is asked to ‘probe the wound,’ ask for as much detail as possible. In fact, you may know the situation well enough that you can remember some things your friend has forgotten. But let your friend be in control of how much he or she can tolerate.
  • You can discuss and help clarify, but don’t impose your own view. You can also help your companion fend off the efforts of others to dictate their beliefs.
  • Your friend making the journey may want you to provide some feedback. Sometimes you may observe things that he or she doesn’t readily see. Often it’s the positives that people have difficulty identifying in themselves.

TIME OUT FROM TIPS ON HOW TO HELP A FRIEND   22 comments

I confess, I’m pro-life. Therefore I’m pro-choice; pro Planned Parenthood; pro-gun control; anti-death penalty; pro habeas corpus; pro universal health care; pro caring for the environment; anti-war; pro-diplomacy; pro equalizing education opportunities; pro caring for our national and local infrastructure; pro Public Radio; pro being an informed voter; pro a rational and humane immigration policy. Also I’m pro separation of church and state; anti-torture; pro promoting the general welfare (see preamble to the constitution of the United States); pro equality for women; pro protecting the vulnerable, pro recognizing that “defense” and “war” are not synonyms.

Obviously I’m an idealistic dreamer. Still, I’d love to see the positions of all candidates for public office on health care, gun control. response to climate change, repairing the infrastructure, torture — i.e. all of the above. Hint: I don’t consider it a “position” to rant against the stance of one’s opponents no matter which side one is on.

OK. Tomorrow it’ll be back to business –Helping with Forgiveness Decisions.

 

THIRD BULLET FOR HELPING A FRIEND   6 comments

Today I’m adding the third bullet to the guides for someone who’s trying to help a friend or acquaintance work through the issue of whether and how to forgive. Maybe to get oriented, you might want to read the blog from two days ago.

Following are the first three suggestions for the helper from pages 4-5 of When to Forgive..

  • Be a good listener. Telling his or her own story is absolutely crucial to a person’s recovery from the effects of an offense. Encourage giving details, but don’t press your own advice or suggestions. Ask questions that encourage going into depth, but be sensitive to the person’s own self-regulating system. Don’t push beyond what he or she is ready to report. There are situations of extreme trauma where the victim is better off not remembering what happened.”
  • When your friend is asked to ‘probe the wound,’ ask for as much detail as possible. In fact, you may know the situation well enough that you can remember some things your friend has forgotten. But let your friend be in control of how much he or she can tolerate.
  • You can discuss and help clarify, but don’t impose your own view. You can also help your companion fend off the efforts of others to dictate their beliefs.

Over the next few days I’ll be adding more bullet points. In the meantime, I’d love some feedback. Examples of helping or being helped would be wonderful.

Posted August 13, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

SECOND BULLET FOR HELPING A FRIEND   2 comments

Today I’m adding the second bullet to the guides for someone who’s trying to help a friend or acquaintance work through the issue of whether and how to forgive. Maybe to get oriented, you might want to read yesterday’s blog.

Following are the first two suggestions for the helper from pages 4-5 of When to Forgive..

  • Be a good listener. Telling his or her own story is absolutely crucial to a person’s recovery from the effects of an offense. Encourage giving details, but don’t press your own advice or suggestions. Ask questions that encourage going into depth, but be sensitive to the person’s own self-regulating system. Don’t push beyond what he or she is ready to report. There are situations of extreme trauma where the victim is better off not remembering what happened.”
  • When your friend is asked to ‘probe the wound,’ ask for as much detail as possible. In fact, you may know the situation well enough that you can remember some things your friend has forgotten. But let your friend be in control of how much he or she can tolerate.

Over the next few days I’ll be adding more bullet points. In the meantime, I’d love some feedback. Examples of helping or being helped would be wonderful.

 

 

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