How did it begin? I can’t remember exactly. Oh yeah! Talking about my easy-going husband whose "nature" it is (so I claimed) not to speak up for himself at work. Maria then began "splitting hairs" (so I claimed) on the issue of trying to change a person’s nature versus helping the person to develop his nature better. She argued that they were two distinctly different things, and that the other person could perceive the difference in attitude and would respond either negatively or positively to the "help" based on that perception. I argued that she was simply "playing with semantics," to make one person look good and the other bad. For instance, if a reporter wanted someone to look bad, she would write, "He tried to change the ways of the gentle native peoples," but if she wanted him to look good, she’d say, "He tried to help the natives reach their full potential." To which she responded, "Thank you for clarifying that, because it helps me see that I have not expressed myself clearly to you." (Well! If I’d ever said something so diplomatic to my mother, I think she would have had a heart attack! I’d better not start now. Her heart’s still good, but no sense taking chances.) She went on to say, "It is not merely a semantic difference; I mean two very different things. One’s nature is given by God, to help a person fulfill the work God has given him; it is therefore good. But in this fallen world, weaknesses arise. A person may need help to overcome his weaknesses, which prevent his nature from being all that it can be, but that’s not the same as changing him. A person needs to feel that you are trying to HELP him, not feel like you are trying to CHANGE him.
Too many life lessons here for me to list. I need to meditate on it. Of course, it’s not a perfect analogy, because snapdragons don’t have free will; imagine a snapdragon arguing like a teenager when you try to stake it! Nonetheless, I really think this will help me a great deal.
How’s that when your daughter can help you make a fundamental rethink of your entire outlook? I think we’ll keep her.