We live in a world that seems to be governed by “feelings.” The classic therapy question is, “How do you feel (about that)?” Well, SHOULD our feelings be our guide in life and decisions? THAT is this week’s Moral Question of the Week. Add your thoughts in the comment section, below…
First air date: Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wayne Levine (BetterMen.org) for “The Men’s Room”
Pastor Drew Sams (WeWillSingaNewSong.com) for “Teen Rap”
Jim Scheinberg (North Pier Fiduciary Management) for “Family Financial Matters”
The column referenced is, “You Hurt My Feelings.”
Those four words — You hurt my feelings — are my least favorite words to hear from my wife. I’d rather hear, “I love you?” What’s most difficult about those four words is that you can’t deny them. Feelings are feelings and they’re not up for debate. For most men, the ease with which we can incur those four words is a mystery. This applies even in non-marital circumstances, as I will elaborate on later.
I love my wife. But, when she utters those four words, I cringe. I used to try and defend myself once I was able to decipher exactly what I’d done to elicit those four deadly words. Now, I just grin and bear it, quickly saying, “I’m sorry.” You might as well just dig the hole deeper the moment you try and defend yourself. Trust me on this: don’t.
Life often gives us web-sites that carry my column had a very radical anti-Israel agenda. At first, I didn’t even realize how marginal and fanatical of a moral dilemma it was. Since my focus is not on politics, I just didn’t vet this web-site sufficiently, given my naïveté, when I first began distributing my column.
The fact that the editor was extraordinarily gracious and accommodating further lured me into not even considering that his site’s politics may be against my beliefs. Plus, his web site had a large following, which at the early stages of my writing career was very exciting.
How often have you made a choice, in which you knew that you were right, yet it turned out wrong? If we, as adults and parents, can do this, what can we expect from our children, especially our teens? And therefore we can ask the question: is being right enough?
I still can’t get over the fact that human brains don’t fully develop until their early twenties. I learned this from a lecture by Dr. Bruce Powell, dean of a local private school, and expert on raising teenagers. So, for teens, their judgments, empathy, and other functions, like knowing when to keep their mouths shut, just aren’t present. Yet, we expect them to often behave as if they were fully adult.
Every holiday season brings both wonderful times and challenging family situations for most of us, my family included. This past holiday season included the first visit to our home of my in-laws, the first time my sons and I would be apart, and the first time my wife and I would be apart during this festive time of the year. Can I say I learned more about our relationships? You bet. Was it easy and fun? You be the judge.
Let’s start with the in-laws. Like many things, I had expectations about how we’d all relate and get along, mostly based on our previous visits together at their home in Vancouver, B.C. But, as I never seem to learn or remember, expectations rarely turn out as expected. In this case, I am very pleased to say they turned out better.
While walking with a friend the day after Thanksgiving, we shared our respective holiday experiences and noted that we were both now the senior dads–the main paternal figure in our respective families. We laughed together, but it was a moment of melancholy and reflection, both of which were feelings I had this Thanksgiving.
My father died four years ago and my mother died just a year ago, so this was our first Thanksgiving in which neither of my parents was with us. Yes, the aging of my parents effectively made me the “man in charge” for many of their later years, but I still viewed them as the senior generation and offered them the respect and deference that they continued to deserve during those difficult years. But now, other than an older 3rd cousin that I adore, it’s now me representing that older figure in our small family.
I find it hard to believe that I’m a grown man and I still pout. When my wife and I don’t get along and our communication is in the toilet, I am a sulking guy pouting, and take all my toys and go hide in my cave. Okay, maybe not all my toys, but you get the picture.
After all my time in therapy, all my time in my men’s group, all the ups and downs of marriage, divorce, dating again, and getting married again, I still act like a little boy when my feelings are hurt.