In a book called “The Complete Pocket Positives: An Anthology of Inspirational Thoughts”, 2000 (Five Mile Press) by Maggie Pinkney, I found a quote by Charles Franklin Kettering, American engineer and inventor, which reads “A problem well stated is a problem half solved.” In the last forty-five years of my life and in the times that I have tagged along on other people’s adventures, I have found this a universal formula with many benefits, in relationships between people.
Before even setting eyes on such words, my design of The Jungle Pack Workbook Therapy-Journal was based upon the exact premise. Life happens at a pace set by emotional reactions and desires. As a result, the process of taking the time to explore the start of an argument is often put in second or last place. Can we agree to the chances of this happening for a large part of the time? Of course arguments don’t have to take place. There are matters of “avoidance” and “silent treatment” in many events, based on sore issues and disagreeable offenses throughout all sorts of family, work and school environments.
The good news here, lies in our ability to give an example of what does attribute to negative thoughts and strong feelings in any situation. When two siblings are fighting, there is usually something to fight about. And some of the reasons are very subtle and at a quick glance, hard to pin down. The insanity for a parent or teacher has a lot to do with trying to get through the day and handling the many different experiences, without a long-term solution reached. The day gone without finding the real root of an argument between students and siblings. Another day comes along with the same “fight” attitude lurking in the ranks.
An example of whatever is wrong consists of a person’s verbal or written description an experience. It works to clarify the report of what is happening or has already happened. For instance, when a parent says to me “Johnny is angry”, I ask “What does he do that lets you know he is feeling angry?” When we get to listing certain anger-based behaviors such as hitting, screaming, throwing and grumbling, I ask for examples of what is happening at or before these events happen. Maybe an older sibling is ignoring him. Maybe he was trying to explain or talk about something and somebody told him to shut up. It usually has to do with something he doesn’t like. Anger in general has a lot to do with a situation we don’t like to be in. It’s a personal issue. I usually don’t feel angry when things are going my way.
When we put an issue in the form of discernible facts, it is so much easier to make decisions on. Nobody is saying that theses decisions will be easy. But now we can see where changes may need to be made. The solution is now spelled out. The example is much like an x-ray. It is isolated from the everyday whirl of deadlines and multiple personal agendas. A problem in its written form is sitting still for us to see and talk about. It stays in one place for future reference. Now, something can actually be done about it.