Have you ever helped someone with the best intentions and have the situation turn out as a big disaster? Did your helpful acts have long lasting negative effects? Did your actions enable another person not to accept responsibility for their own actions?
Let me tell you another true story. When I was in grade school my dad bought a brand new Ford country squire station wagon. The body color of the car was white. The car included a red vinyl like interior including the dashboard, seats and interior door panels and had red carpets.
My dad always took very good care of his cars. Especially his new cars. Every week he would vacuum the interior, and wash and wax his car. I would always be outside watching him.
One Saturday, my dad, my brother and I went out to visit my aunt and uncle who ran a small beef and pork farm. After taking a look at the animals and spending some time playing with my cousins in the barns, I decided to show my cousins our new car.
At that point we decided to all help out my dad by washing and waxing our new car. We got a couple of buckets and rags and washed the exterior of the car. We then decided to wax the car. My uncle had several cans of car wax in the barn.
As my cousins applied a coat of wax to the exterior of the car, my brother had the idea to wax the interior of the car. I agreed with him that it would be a good idea to wax the interior of the car. It sounded like a good idea at that time. That’s right, we decided to wax the INTERIOR of the car. The vinyl seats, the side panels, the dashboard, radio, the steering wheel, the interior of the roof, the heating vents, all the nobs and levers, etc. Every square inch of the interior of the car. We used a whole can of car wax.
When my dad came outside and saw what my brother and I did, he went over the edge. When my dad asked whose idea it was to wax the inside of the car, my brother immediately said it was my idea. In spite of my protests, let me say that I received a number of hard smacks on my backside, which was something that commonly happened to children in those days who did something they were not supposed to do. My brother did not accept responsibility for his own actions. My dad enabled my brothers behavior.
My brother and I spent the next several hours with rags trying to remove the wax from the interior of the car. We never did get all the wax off. The whole time my dad owned the car, the interior smelled like car wax. We never needed an air freshener. The wax made the vinyl seats and everything else inside the car very slippery. For months, every time my mom got in the car she would slide off the front seat, hit her knees on the glove compartment and get very irritated. My brother and I would get yelled at again from my dad.
So how do you help someone facing a challenging situation starting with the best intentions, so that it does not become a big disaster, does not have long lasting negative effects, or allows someone to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions?
Using the modified STAR technique and setting proper boundaries allows you to assist others and make a positive impact in their lives without becoming an enabler.
Out There on the Edge of Everything®…
Stephen Lesavich, PhD
Copyright © 2021, by Stephen Lesavich, PhD. All rights reserved.
Certified solution-focused life coach and experienced business coach.
If you would like to receive personal coaching by Dr. Lesavich, please visit his life coaching web-site for additional information.
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Award-winning and best-selling Author, Entrepreneur, Visionary, CEO of 2 different companies, Attorney, Tech Expert, Certified Solution-Focused Life Coach, Experienced Business Coach.