Cognitive Dissonance is a fancy term that I think means that two or more things in my mind don’t make sense together. In my case it also means I am a hypocrite. At my job I am motivated to pour acceptance, encouragement, listening, occasional problem-solving into my client-friends. I have rewarding relationships with many of them. But I noticed I wasn’t the same person at home.
At home I don’t get the thank you’s when I do something for my son like I do at work. My son doesn’t even listen all the way to the end of a sentence when I talk to him. I felt like I didn’t get the “love and respect” I got at work. And it didn’t take me long to figure out why.
I am starting to unconditionally accept and encourage my son, just like I do my client-friends at work. I don’t do this based on how I feel about him at the time. I do it based on the fact that other ways aren’t working. Like always the Bible was right all along: Do for others the same things that you want them to do for you. I want him to respect me, I will first respect him. I want him to thank me, I will thank him. I want his encouragement and love, I will first give him my encouragement and love.
I have failed, will fail and am failing at this. But as John Maxwell’s friend says about getting knocked down in life: I’m either up or getting up.
There are still times I get mad at my oldest son. But I am on a new direction (or a redo of an older direction). And I will continue to pursue a relationship with him no matter how many times I fail.