Monday, February 4, 2013

Examining Our Values

In last week's post about Brandy's story, I talked about the scars left on children as witnesses to their parents' abusive marriage.  I talked about the balancing act that all parents do between protecting our children and letting them make their own mistakes in order to learn some hard lessons.  This week I want to talk about the same balancing act but from a different perspective
What if your grown child is struggling with a decision she made independently?  A big decision - one that has no easy options.  How do you feel about her making this decision on her own and how do you feel about the decision she made? Nothing can kill a mother's love for her child, but what if you don't agree with her decision?  What if you think it is morally wrong?  What if you are angry because her decision impacts you in a way you don't like? Do you
communicate your anger? Do you communicate your moral opposition? Is it wrong not to express these feelings to her?  She made a grown-up decision, should she have to deal with grown-up responses? Or do you keep it to yourself because she is already dealing with enough shame and uncertainty?

April doesn't have a relationship with her father (or, as she calls him, her "sperm donor").  Somehow he finds out about her decision, and he is enraged.  What if you are Brandy and you find out about this difficult choice through your estranged ex-husband who has a hair-trigger temper? Can you hide your shock from him? Can you hide it in your face? Can you find the words to say that will both protect your 
daughter and not reveal the complex emotions you're feeling? Can you act like you already knew?  Or do you deny it and tell him it didn't happen? 

Brandy's love and devotion to April is steadfast and can't be killed.  Her love for her daughter is truly unconditional.  This is one of several situations she will be in that require a great deal of soul searching. Our values come out in these situations.  

There are times in our lives when we are overwhelmed with emotion, and we have to make ourselves step back before making a decision.  Emotion-based decisions aren't always the right decisions. If we always acted on our emotions, then we would make decisions we later regret. That is not to say that emotion should not be part of the decision-making process, but it should be just that - a part of the decision-making process.

If some boy hurts my daughter I want to key his car, smash his headlights and pay someone to beat the crap out of him. 
 I don't do that though because I don't want to get sued and violence isn't an answer.  "Violence isn't an answer" - that statement comes from my values.  It overrides my emotional desire to have him beat to a pulp.

Brandy will have to take a serious look at her values.  She will have to do this quickly and without warning.  She will have to quickly evaluate her choices and try to make the decision that reflects her true values.

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