WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Imagine this scenario: It’s Wednesday night. Geoff, 17, is finished with his chores, and he’s finally ready for some well-earned time to relax! He turns on the TV and collapses into his favorite chair.
At that moment, Dad appears in the doorway, and he isn’t happy.
“Geoffrey! Why are you wasting your time watching TV when you’re supposed to be helping your little brother with his homework? You never do as you’re told!”
“Here we go again,” Geoff mutters, loud enough to be heard.
Dad leans forward. “What did you say, young man?”
“Nothing, Dad,” Geoff says with a sigh, rolling his eyes.
Now Dad is really angry. “Don’t use that tone with me!” he says sternly.
If you were Geoff, how might you have prevented this confrontation?
STOP AND THINK!
Communicating with your parents is like driving a car. If you encounter a roadblock, you can find another route.
“I find it difficult to communicate with my father,” says a girl named Leah. “Sometimes I’ll talk to him for a while, and then he’ll say, ‘I’m sorry, were you speaking to me?’”
LEAH HAS AT LEAST THREE OPTIONS.
Yell at her dad.
Leah screams, “Come on, this is important! Listen!”
Stop talking to her dad.
Leah simply gives up trying to talk to her dad about her problem.
Wait for a better time, and bring up the subject again.
Leah speaks with her dad face-to-face later, or she writes him a letter about her problem.
Which option would you recommend to Leah?
CONSIDER: Leah’s dad is distracted—and thus unaware of her frustration. So if Leah chooses Option A, her screaming might seem to come out of nowhere. This option probably won’t make Leah’s dad more receptive to her words, and it won’t show respect and honor for him. (Ephesians 6:2) Really, then, this option will not benefit anyone.
While Option B may be the easiest course to take, it’s not the wisest. Why? Because to deal successfully with her problems, Leah needs to talk to her dad—and if he’s going to help her, he needs to know what’s going on in her life. Silence accomplishes neither.
With Option C, however, Leah doesn’t let a roadblock become a dead end. Rather, she tries to discuss the subject another time. And if she chooses to write her dad a letter, Leah might feel better right away.
Writing the letter may also help her to formulate exactly what she wants to say. When he reads the letter, Leah’s dad will learn what she was trying to tell him, which may help him to understand her plight better. Option C thus benefits both Leah and her dad. Whether face-to-face or with a letter, this option follows the Bible’s admonition to “pursue the things making for peace.”—Romans 14:19.
What other options might Leah have?
See if you can think of one. Then think of where that option would likely lead.
AVOID SENDING MIXED MESSAGES
Remember, what you said and what your parents think you said do not always match.
Your parents ask you why you seem to be in a bad mood. You say, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
But your parents hear: “I don’t trust you enough to confide in you. I’ll talk to my friends about the problem but not to you.”
Imagine that you are facing a difficult problem and your parent offers to help. But you say: “Don’t worry. I can handle it myself.”
What might your parents hear?
What might be a better response from you?