H.U.G Corner: Thought of the Week 7/24

Location : South Houston Hospice

Quiet Mind: One-Minute Retreats from a Busy World

Sometimes we are so focused on accomplishing one particular task that our vision narrows and we overlook the obvious cause of pain and distress in those around us.

Joey, fifteen, was almost literally dragged by his mother into my office at the social service agency where I was a family counselor intern.

“He absolutely refuses to go to school,” she said to me, clearly frustrated.

The three of us spent the session in different ways: I was trying to figure out the cause of his school phobia. The mother spent the session expressing frustration at her once cooperative son. The boy spent the session in disgruntled silence, with a couple of one-syllable exceptions.

To all my questions they responded with very little information. I couldn’t figure out what was at the heart of the problem.

At the end I said, “Is there anything else you can tell me about all of this?”

“No,” they agreed.

“Well, let’s meet again next week and maybe by then we’ll be able to do better,” I concluded.

“Oh, no,” the mother said, “we can’t come back. We’re in the midst of packing. Next week the family’s moving to Philadelphia.”

Finally, I got it!! Of course Joey was upset about leaving home and moving across the country. We extended the session and gave the boy a chance to express his grief at losing all his friends and his mother a chance to understand how difficult that is.

This family was moving so fast that they missed the obvious. They needed to slow down to notice. Maybe in Philadelphia.


When conflict arises today take a moment to ask: What is this conversation (comment, request, et cetera) really about?

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