Dr. Phil, the bullying TV psychologist, takes on difficult cases every day. He generally ends each show with his “patients” blubbering like babies and agreeing to accept the “resources” that Dr. Phil offers to resolve their problems. We seldom see the results of the “resources,” but Dr. Phil is applauded and treated like a miracle worker.
There have been plenty of times in my life where I could have used a Dr. Phil, but there have been two instances where I have been proud of my own council.
At work there was an Administrative assistant who was stressed over work and her commute which was making her job as a new mother difficult. I listened as she went on about how she was missing her little girl who was only months old, but was needing her income to maintain her lifestyle. Her husband was a corrections officer and brought home a good salary, but it was not enough to maintain their current standard of living.
I told her that it might be tough, but I’ll bet they could scale back and she could be a full time mom for several years. I suggested she consider it an investment. Pay now, or pay later for counseling to work out problems of bad grades, low self-esteem, drugs, or the many problems children sometimes have when mom is not around. It would be an investment to build a mother daughter bond that you would never have the chance to “purchase” at a later date.
This lady did leave her job, and years later she contacted me and told me how glad she was that she did. Her relationship with her daughter was wonderful, her daughter was a delight, and they managed the finances by cutting back until she was able to work again. She said she just called to say thank you.
Some years later, a colleague at work was having family issues. She had purchased a two family home with her sister. Her sister now wanted to move to a single family home and they were bickering over a buyout price. The fighting was getting ugly.
This surprised me as I had often heard her talk of her sister and I knew they had always had a very strong bond. The battle came down to $5000, not an insignificant amount, and it was clear her sister was not going to budge. They were starting to talk about hiring lawyers.
I asked her, “If your sister was kidnapped, and the kidnappers wanted you to pay a $5000 ransom would you spend the money?” She immediately responded “Of course.” Then I asked, “Isn’t it worth $5000 to save your relationship?”
She gave in to her sister. She told her that for the sake of their relationship which she cherished she would not argue over the money.
She later thanked me for putting the issue in perspective.
I think both of these ladies always knew what they wanted to do; they just needed someone to give them a push. Regardless it was very rewarding to be thanked for providing that nudge.
Sometimes solutions are easy, they just take someone to point them out. I only wish solutions would seem as clear when they are your own problems as they are when they are someone else’s.