This is an article I came across recently that was fairly thought provoking to me. As a therapist, I’ve learned how to roll with the choices people make even if I may not personally choose to make those exact choices myself. No judgement. However, one thing I have not personally grown mature enough to understand (and maybe I’ll never be) the decisions that some people make when choosing the person they make a baby with and not make a judgment on their mental capacity. That being said, working at a job where I interact with children who have been abused has convinced me without a doubt that there are some people who should never ever ever be parents. I am of the opinion that some men make great fathers and other men make great husbands and that sometimes these two things do not go together. Don’t get me wrong, I think that there are some characteristics that both fathers and husbands should have that overlap with each other. But I think that the roles of a husband and that of an engaged, aware, and mature parent are different. The article is a little on the humorous side but it does make you think about the difference between a spouse and a parent. While selfishness in a marriage can cause problems, a selfish parent can negatively impact the life of the next generation. Communication between adults is different than communication with children. It’s not healthy to be enmeshed with a child in the same manner you are with a spouse. Totally different ballgame. Raising a child successfully without messing them up for life requires a different set of skills than having a relationship with another mature adult. It’s nice to have a great husband and it’s wonderful if a man is a good father, but it’s even better when a guy can be both at the same time.
One of the benefits and perhaps one of the setbacks of being in school for years and studying human behaviors and personalities is that you see the world being less black and white than you have originally thought. Classes that shock you and challenge you to critically think can also make you able to think in the gray. This is one thing that I’ve learned to function in for the purpose of doing my job. I deal with things that are not absolutes on a daily basis because people are involved. They aren’t numbers that can easily be manipulated to get the same exact result every time. The process is often messy and involves variables that were not considered at the beginning. I’ve learned to take outside factors into consideration when making a clinical judgment on someone’s behaviors or actions and to hear both sides of the story before aligning too closely with one client. It’s not an easy task to do and sometimes involves feeling uncomfortable. However, despite my ability to function in the grey and not make rash decisions or judgment calls on behaviors without knowing as much as possible, I still like the black and white. Decisions are so much easier to make when they are clear cut. Professionally I’ve learned to work in the gray but personally, I like the black and white because it simplifies life. The “all or nothing” mentality helps me to stay focused and decreases distractions. However this makes it easy to swing to extremes without even attempting to find any middle ground. You make decisions and stick to them without being worried about repercussions. It’s easier to be assertive and attentive to what’s going on around you. But I think that it’s easier to miss nuances and smaller things because the focus is on the black and white instead of making allowances for the grey things in life. The truth of the matter is that life is about adjustment and change because our lives will almost never go exactly according to plan 100% of the time.