Stubborn, Strong-Willed, Hard-Headed

Jeanette Berry, January 1993

"Ah, yes, Dianne is stubborn, strong-willed, hard-headed and set in her ways!"  This was our doctor speaking, --teasing Dianne, our daughter.  However, Tom and I agreed these traits are easily true of all three of us living at the Berry household.  With this in mind I began to wonder how we managed to live together in love and harmony as we do.  Several words seem to come to the forefront:

1.  Respect.
Each of us respects the rights of the other to be different.  For example;  Dianne is a true night owl.  She functions at peak performance at one of two a.m.  Tom used to wake the rooster!  He is extremely organized with perfectionist tendencies while  I work at attaining those characteristics constantly, Dianne has yet to find the words in the dictionary.  Tom never complains about me or Dianne, and she and I both admire that quirk in his personality that even organizes his shows, shirts, socks, and underwear.

Respecting the right of the other to have different preferences is paramount, whether food or TV. programs.  Tom and Dianne share a love of dogs and football.  I like romance, mysteries, and cats.  We solved the football problem with multiple TV's and strive for tolerance for the preferences of others.

We have a respect for personal belongings and privacy.  It has been a long-standing rule at our house that bedrooms are private.  You don't go in or take anything out unless invited to do so.  If your belongings are out in the family area, then they are free for the using.  Otherwise...!

2.  Acceptance.
At some undefined point Tom and I realized that our children were adults and that our parent role was different.  Advice was no longer "This is your mother speaking..."  All advice must now be requested, (a transition I still find difficult) and offered as friend to friend.  It is it not accepted, then so be it. 

The question I find I must ask myself is this:  Has my loving and caring earned me the right to interfere with or offer unsolicited advice?  Only when there is security and confidence in love and concern for the other's happiness will advice be sought and accepted.  This is not an easy position, but a most necessary one.

3.  Support.
One thing that is prevalent is our home is support for one another, ---like "The Three Musketeers" or the motto: "One for all and all for one."   Sometimes it takes times of trouble for this to become evident, but in reality, it is there all the time.

Support manifests itself by helping one another during times of stress.  I've seen Tom do laundry, dishes, vacuum the floor or clean the bathrooms, when I have been stressed out.  Dianne is quick to pick up the load when there is a need. 

Support is shown by positive affirmation of the abilities of each other.  Rarely is any kind of negative complain heard in our home.  Criticism of one another is so rare as to be almost non-existent.  Criticism from someone outside the family gets really nasty.  You may have heard the cliche` "you may kick me, but you'd better not kick my don?"  Well, that's true in the Berry family.

4.  Love.
We love one another.  It is the "show-and-tell-love" that is expressed in the acts we do and the words we say.  Believe me, they match.

Even stubborn, hard-headed, set-in-their-ways Christians can live in love and harmony if they practice Bible principles.  We know.

 

   


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