Last week we were out to dinner with my daughter, grand-daughter, and my daughter's boyfriend. We were making family plans for the following weekend, and at the mention that the following Friday was Valentine's day, my daughter rolled her eyes and her boyfriend instantly stiffened up.
"What's up with Valentine's day?" I asked.
As a society, we appear to have no skills related to argument. What's that you say? We argue a lot? Actually, most people quarrel rather than argue, though they may do so without physical involvement or raised voices. In fact, most people do not know what argument is.
This is unfortunate, because we need good, productive, challenging argument - in our family life, in our businesses, and in our shared communities. Argument is supposed to be the act of thinking together. Of both offering and considering persuasive ideas backed by facts and observations in order to advance our understanding.
Both my 29-year-old daughter and my 22-year-old son are in the midst of navigating their most serious relationships to date and I am removing myself from a friendship that wasn't what I thought it was. Of course, we are always in the midst of relationship activity, but this is a lot new and changing activity at once. Which provides a terrific opportunity to reflect on the nature of crazy as it relates to the ones we love.
What makes a person believe that others owe him or her more than they owe in return? People who constantly borrow money from others but never pay it back, people who expect others to bail them out from problems they have caused, people who will do anything to get their own way, people who are indignant when they break the rules and then have to suffer the consequences -
Four people that I trusted and cared about really let me down in the last few months by being greedy, selfish, ungrateful, unkind, gossipy, victimy, a bit crazy, etc. You know how not-fun that is, because it happens to everyone at some point.
But yesterday, I caught myself telling a dear friend that I was having a hard time trusting people. Which is weird, because I'm a trusting person. We're talking Pollyanna status. So I thought about it, and I realized that my perspective may have become inappropriately skewed.