Thursday, September 17, 2009

goodwilled people

As we've been doing our "Love & Respect" group (a marriage video course), a particular concept that has run throughout is the idea that your spouse is basically a "goodwilled" person, who doesn't intentionally frustrate, annoy or hurt you. These things may happen, but you have a whole different perspective on your spouse if you choose to focus on the fact that they aren't meaning to cause you pain, and that they really are a "goodwilled" person.

I am finding this concept of thinking of people in this way carries over well to other areas of life. As the kids transition with school, and my frustration or annoyance flares up over things they come home with, amount of homework, stories of how things were handled, etc., I tend to forget that the people involved (teachers, bus drivers, etc.) are really probably goodwilled people, who probably truly do have reasons behind their actions, and I may not always see them.

Last weekend when Bryce began expressing frustrations he has been experiencing in school, my first instinct (being the 'mama bear' that I am) was to get angry at his teacher...a woman who I had never met, mind you. I began question what she was doing, why, and all sorts of things. I had very built up in my mind a scenario of having to "have it out" with this lady. However, with my husband's calming influence I was able to write a rational email to her with some questions about what was going on, and she very promptly called me the next morning to respond to my concerns. She was not at all what I expected, even just in phone conversation, and we set up a time to meet to discuss the situation.

Yesterday Todd & I sat down and had a wonderful meeting with this teacher, who I found to be very caring and concerned. She was more than willing to work together with us to make this the best year possible for Bryce. Having gone in with my defenses up, expecting to be condenscended to about having homeschooled (as I have experienced from some public school teachers in the past), I was more than pleasantly surprised (and very encouraged) by her praise of our choice to homeschool, and her understanding and appreciation of the value of it. (In fact, she actually asked us questions about homeschooling as she is encouraging her own daughter to homeschool her granddaughter who was adopted from an orphanage in China at the age of 3 1/2.) She emphasized that while Bryce is having to learn to adapt to working in a classroom with 20 other kids, getting into a routine, etc., that those aren't necessarily of great importance in the grand scheme of life...not nearly so much as the values and character foundations we were able to give him in the years that we homeschooled. She caringly acknowledged that there were pluses and minuses to public school and asked how we found it to be working for us, and even how our other son was adjusting. I could not have asked for a better meeting, and left feeling very empowered as a parent to have someone who is viewing this school year as a partnership between her and us to give Bryce all the best. I was honestly amazed and very blessed.

All this to say, I found out that she was a truly "goodwilled" person, and I would do well to, rather than react the minute things happen in a way that assumes the worst, to remember that people are quite often "goodwilled" and allow God to reveal the truth of situations before choosing to fly apart! Good lesson...hopefully it will fully take root in my heart and mind!!


zz said...

I'm so glad it worked out so well. It's so hard to take the "mama claws" out of situations, esp schooling when you've been the primary teacher for so long. Teachers, for the most part, really are very reasonable, and kids come home with their own side of every story, I have learned over and over! I always appreciate when parents come to me with a spirit of inquiry, not claws!

Laura said...

lol... thanks for the reminder. i needed it at the moment.