Friday, June 18, 2010

Our Values Rule Our Relationships

One of the greatest blessings I have been given is the relationship I have with my husband. Every single day we spend time telling each other about our day and celebrating each others' successes while finding that silver lining in our less-than-successes.

Recently, hubby dearest was expounding on such a situation at his cubicle-laden, mouse-maze office. His frustration was with the pass-the-buck, that’s-not-my-job mentality that seemed to have invaded his team. In my infinite wisdom, I pulled out a basic principal in public relations: successful communications and relationships are based on individual values. The core values we share with others will directly affect our ability to have fulfilling relationships, whether those relationships are with friends, family or even co-workers.

To prove my point about how Hubby’s values being in direct conflict with those of his co-workers causing a lot of strife in his office, I chose to show him how shared values provide for strong bonds. Using the same media some might say is killing the human bond, I polled my social network via Facebook with this post:

“20-hour fb inquiry...on a sheet of paper write the top five things you value (love, honesty, etc.). Send me your five things in a message not a post. I'm curious if my friends, family and I share common values. I'll post the findings without outing anyone so be honest.”

Twenty hours later, here I sit compiling my data and inwardly preening at the success of this informal social experiment. To be fair, here is the blah-blah-blah breakdown: 11 respondents, 62 responses, and I chose the final categorization based upon my five core values (after all, I am trying to prove my friends’ compatibility with myself, right!). Also, the respondents ranged from friends aged 17 to 30+, with whom I have had relationships with for more than a year (some since I was a little girl child). All respondents were female, but that’s another study for another day.

Drum roll please! With my core values of relationships, honesty, peace, fairness and communication, I had to add “other” to catch the laugh-out-loud values such as “a burger.” Relationships were of highest value, with 91% of the respondents listing spiritual, familial and friendly relations as top priorities in their lives. Honesty and Peace tied for second sharing 31% of the total votes. Fairness received 11% of the respondents’ attention, encompassing traits such as empathy, charity, kindness, respect and compassion. Communication was lonely with only my vote, but if you dollop it onto the “other” pile, we only differ in 13% of our values. But, hey, some of the best friendships are deep relationships because of the variety we bring to each others’ lives.

Now, I haven’t devised a plan for my man to poll his co-workers, nor his exit strategy for escaping from the building before they tar and feather him. However, maybe he can watch for some of their actions and listen to their word choices, categorize them in correspondence to his five core values and find a path to better communication or at least better understanding.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Never Pray for Patience

"Oh, no!" my friend trilled. "Never ever, ever, ever pray for patience!"

You are probably as confused as I was when she delivered this edict to me almost a decade ago. My wise friend's advice finally runs clear for me today. You never pray for patience because the only way you get it is by withstanding and/or out-living a trial.

For instance, you pray for patience with your children. God delivers to you the most mouthy, sassy pants you've ever had misery to cross. You earn your stripes by still helping the little darlings to maturity. The solution: pray for the children to be appreciative of the blessings they are given. See the transference?

In another situation, a friend of my family prayed for patience until she could take time off. Later that day she had the misfortune to get into a car accident and break both her legs. Her six-week convalescence is not exactly for what she prayed. In hind sight, maybe she should have prayed more specifically for time to spend frolicking on a warm, sunny beach. Pray specifically!

Today, I reference Psalm 27:14, "
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." In essence, pray for strength and courage but never patience.