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Another act of kindness, humility

Posted: 10 May 2015, 07:09
by SilentDawning
Some time ago, we went to some family counseling at LDS Social services. It was spawned by a counselor who was helping my daughter get over the traumatic effects of repeated bullying at church. It had led to a certain amount of anxiety in my daughter in certain situations. The counselor did a good job with my daughter -- we saw rapid improvement, and an empowered attitude toward life. The counselor suggested the family come in to discuss our relationships as a family. I agreed given how positive the counseling was for my daughter and how much my wife and daughter liked her.

Well, she botched this up. No preparation -- no building of trust, no investigation about the backstory of our family, no individual meetings with myself or my wife to get candid perceptions of our family life. Some of you know some of the problems I walked into when I got married, so I won't go into them. My wife and I are very different as well, and there have been compatibility problems (major ones) over the years.

We have learned to cope, and our family life is tranquil now. But it has meant a kind of odd family culture -- odd to most outsiders. But it has created a stable marriage. This counselor, in front of my kids, commented on the ways we could do better as a family and there was a long list. I never felt so uncomfortable in a meeting as that one. She exposed my son to problems he wasnt' aware of in our family, for one. She had my daughter parenting me on one issue, which I really did not like. She highlighted the deficiencies in our family that I am WELL aware of, and for which there is no easy solution. And I felt like I just wanted out of the meeting. After it was over, I contemplated divorce as I saw how UNLIKE my desired family, my actual family is. How strange it must look to outsiders that don't know the backstory. She essentially raised the discontent I have learned to minimize, in a way to create stability in our family.

After it was over, I wrote a letter describing in kind, but direct terms the impact she had had on me -- her lack of preparation for the meeting, the exposure of my son to things he wasn't aware of. also, the backstory she never bothered to investigate -- which I'm sure made her feel a bit sheepish

The counselor wrote me back and apologized, explained she hadn't done much family counseling recently was rusty etcetera. Respected my "need for separation" from her practice, as she put it.

Anyway, unknown to me, my daughter went back to this counselor recently over more bullying at school. The counselor recommended a group therapy session for my daughter to attend. Once, just to feel not so alone in the current problem she was facing. There was a cost to it, and this counselor offered to simply pay for it. She said "I know I really alienated your parents, and this is one way I can show that I care about it"....

We had a run-in with LDS Social Services 20 years ago over an adoption, and the way it was handled was not nearly as humble or penitent as this counselor today. I don't think I can go back to a family session with this counselor, but I do feel forgiveness, now for this woman's lack of preparation and damage to our family at the first and only family session a few months ago.

I want to say that apologies and attempts at restoration DO MATTER. Yes, it's nice, and sometimes even necessary to forgive when humility and penitence is absent from the wrongdoer, but I want to say, it sure does help when there is an active attempt at restitution After her apology I was neutral -- after she agreed to pay for something for my daughter, she went back into positive relationship status, this counselor did....The dollar value was not significant, but the message it sends -- worth millions....

Re: Another act of kindness, humility

Posted: 10 May 2015, 08:16
by DarkJedi
Thanks for sharing SD. I remember when this occurred and how hurt you were. I agree, apologies do matter.

Re: Another act of kindness, humility

Posted: 10 May 2015, 10:16
by Roy
Sounds like a good person to have in your daughter's corner SD.

Thanks for sharing.

Re: Another act of kindness, humility

Posted: 10 May 2015, 12:28
by Curt Sunshine
Thanks for sharing this, SD.

So much of what hurts us is unintentional - and I know we hurt others much more frequently than we realize.

Re: Another act of kindness, humility

Posted: 10 May 2015, 18:40
by cwald
That is a nice post SD. Very heart felt and honest. Thanks.