QUESTION: I guess every organization has at least one person with an abrasive disposition. In our club, the person who is abrasive has also served the club very well for many years. Several people have left because of uncomfortable encounters with this individual. We’re part of a national organization and a district officer who has visited and observed a couple of these situations has suggested that we ask the person to leave the club.
really don’t want to do that, but don’t know exactly what to say or how to say it. We’d
like some help with this.
~ Frustrated Club Members
Dear Frustrated Club Members,
I appreciate your quandary. On the one hand, you have someone who has contributed a great deal to your organization. On the other hand, his/her abrasive behavior is costing membership and making for an unpleasant experience for the rest. There are two effective ways of handling this. The first is practical. The second is spiritual and metaphysical.
The practical way of dealing with this is getting past your own fear of the person and gently confronting them. By that I mean praise them for the good they have done; state the problem with their behavior as you see it, and what you need from them to resolve this. Then praise them again and state the value you hold them in. If you find this is not successful (or are still hesitant to approach them), I would recommend using the services of a professional mediator trained in conflict resolution. They do amazing jobs bringing about positive change, at the same time saving relationships. Some non-profits offer this as a no-cost or inexpensive service, so it is something to look into and explore. The mediator can also offer help in getting your member to come in for the mediation process.
On the spiritual/metaphysical side, all real change begins in you. Even though you are not the problem, you have the power to be the agent for positive change. There is no one to confront except the limitations of your own beliefs about this situation. This can be easily done by affirmative prayer. Here is one you can use: “I know and give thanks for the perfect, positive resolution of this situation, one that honors and respects the rights of all involved, and ends with perfect peace of mind, goodwill, harmony and cooperation with and for all in our club. And so it is.”
I would say this affirmation once or twice a
day or whenever you feel challenged in your mind about this situation. You will come
to “feel it real.” Then be prepared for some amazing positive changes.
Anthony Kelson, Practitioner
Dear Frustrated Club Members,
It seems abrasive personalities are either more prevalent these days or more emboldened. It is a difficult problem with clubs and volunteer groups. Attracting new members is usually a main activity and most organizations can’t afford to lose members. Have you discussed the loss of club members with the abrasive individual? Is it possible he/she doesn’t realize the results of the behavior? Is there a family member or someone close to this person who could give some insight into the cause of the behavior? Was this person always this way or is the prickliness increasing? Could there be a medical problem?
If talking calmly with the person and having discrete discussions with the person’s closest friends and family haven’t yielded any solutions perhaps your group could bring in a speaker on better communication styles or group cohesiveness. The national group might have some training programs. The individual might recognize his/herself and take corrective action.
You mention how much this person has done for the group. Could the person be abrasive because they shoulder most of the load? Perhaps the most consistently cheerful club members could assign themselves to be helpers. The good behavior might rub off. If the person is in a leadership position, they could be moved to a less visible role. Is there something this person would like to do that doesn’t involve much contact with other members?
Asking the person to leave the group should be a last resort. It should only be done after checking the bylaws or other operating documents to be sure appropriate procedures are followed.
I hope for the best outcome for all concerned.
QUESTION: I’ve been a stay-at-home dad. When our first child was born, my wife and I decided that one of us should be at home with her. Because my wife’s position was better paying with more opportunity for advancement, we decided I would be the one. I’ve done all the childcare, housekeeping, bill paying, etc. – everything it takes to run a household and take care of a family except the financial part. When we began this arrangement, we began putting money away in a retirement account for me as well. Now, 30 years later, both of our children have finished college and are out on their own. And, although I continue to do the housework, cooking, social calendar, etc., my wife thinks we shouldn’t be putting money into my retirement account. This has turned into a major argument to the point that I wonder if there is a way out.
Other than this one issue, our relationship is great. I want to add that we’re a Christian family and my wife and I continue to attend church regularly. We welcome a spiritual solution.
~ Devoted Family Man
Dear Devoted Family Man,
Congratulations to you and your wife for working together so well as parents to help your children to get an education and to be financially independent – this is no small accomplishment! Unresolved disagreements are tough in marriage but, because of your faith and desire to get a spiritual solution, there is every reason to believe this will work out. It would be difficult for me to give advice on your specific question without more information. Why doesn’t your wife want to put more money in your retirement account? Why do you have separate retirement accounts? Do you already have enough money saved for retirement so that you don’t necessarily need more? These are a few of the questions I would need to ask if I were to discuss this with the two of you.
What I would encourage you to do is to get advice as a couple from someone you both trust who is qualified to give financial advice as well as a biblical perspective. Proverbs 15:22 states, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (see also Proverbs 19:20 and Proverbs 20:18). Perhaps the pastor at your church can help you? Or another couple you know? Also you might consider the Financial Peace University series with Dave Ramsey to get excellent financial advice from someone with a Christian faith. Our church is hosting this series in Glendale beginning in September. For more information, go to www.daveramsey.com.
I will pray for you. Please contact me if you need any more help from me.
Dear Devoted Family Man,
First of all, let me commend both of you for your courage, wisdom and ability to effectively navigate a potentially divisive family situation, forge special relationships with your children, and launch them successfully. This new “season” of your lives brings challenges, yet opportunities to grow individually and bond together.
You’ve expressed your heart’s desire to have a more harmonious relationship. Psalms 133:1 says: “How pleasant it is when people live together in unity.” By seeking God’s help and direction, He will make a “way out” by making a “way through” your circumstances with both spiritual and practical steps you can take to resolve this dividing issue, chart a positive course for your future, and further your unity.
First, ask God to show you if you have any fears or wrong beliefs regarding your finances or any resentment or unforgiveness toward your wife. If so, ask God’s forgiveness and deal with those fears or beliefs. Then talk to your wife, share what God showed you and, if necessary, ask for forgiveness and pledge to partner together until you find a solution to your difficulty. Why don’t you also pray together for God’s peace in your hearts and His direction from this point on?
Next, as a couple, meet with your pastor or possibly the church financial director, soliciting his/her spiritual and practical insights and a recommendation of a godly financial advisor/planner to help you map out a strategy for your future.
When you meet with the financial planner, be open and honest about your apprehensions and concerns. This gives him/her the opportunity to address and clear up any misconceptions either of you may have about your retirement accounts so that you can come into agreement. It is also an opportunity to analyze all your finances including monthly spending, investments, retirement accounts, insurance, etc. He/she can help you agree on financial directions thereby helping you maximize your investments for your future.
As you take practical steps to secure your finances and spiritual steps to secure your relationship, God will continue to supply what you need, as you continue to seek Him.
Praying for you,
Pastor Dabney Beck