Friday, October 19, 2012

A Confrontation Gone Right

Confrontation is hard for most people. Fear is usually the reason why.  Personally, I am not afraid of confrontation; I rather like it. I like it because it gets stuff done. Confrontation heals relationships. It makes a path for open communication.  It's a good thing, but it's a hard thing. It requires listening, grace, patience and tolerance for another person.

I remember the first time I had to confront someone about my kids.  Elaine* was a deacon's wife in my husband's first church.  She had raised three kids, I had just had my 2nd. My little boy was acting up in church while I fussed with his baby sister and Elaine had had enough. She turned around, told my son she'd throw him in the baptism water if he didn't settle down, then turned back around to face the front. I was appalled!  I told my son in no uncertain terms that she was not going to throw him in the water.  I then tapped Elaine on the shoulder and calmly asked her to please not speak to my children like that, nor tell them things that aren't true.

This sent Elaine over the edge for a while.  For three weeks, she shunned me in church (this is a common tactic of a lot of women in churches). I did what I always do; attended regularly, remained faithful in all I did and prayed. And waited.  I would try to speak to her each week at church, but she strongly avoided me, making it impossible.

After three weeks, Elaine and her husband stopped by our house.  Elaine told me she was sorry, that she should not have spoken to my son like that. She expressed how she was just exasperated with his behavior. I reminded her that he was only 2 years old and I had my hands full with his baby sister. This church had no nursery. She saw my point, I saw hers. Little kids can be exasperating. She began to help me with the kids. It was very sweet.

Elaine and I are friends to this day. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her because even though she hated confrontation, she was willing to learn from it and heal our relationship in the process.  As friends, we have never looked back.  She learned that deacon's wives can't go around telling the pastor's wife how to raise her kids.  I learned that standing up for my kids is always the right thing to do.  And we were both rewarded with a friendship that has lasted 28 years!  Imagine!  This is what confrontation can accomplish.

This is a good thing.
I am so blessed to have her in my life.

*Not her real name.

1 comment:

  1. I instruct conflict resolution in universities. I call it managing conflict because the only means to ending conflict is death.