By Rev. Paul N. Papas II
1 November 2010
Do You Defuse or Feed Into?
If you are alive you have conflict.
We all make choices which may please ourselves or others. When we make a choice it is usually because we have weighed the options. While weighing the options we found good and bad reasons for each possible solution.
A New York lawyer went duck hunting in the mountains of East Tennessee recently. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer’s field on the other side of the fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.
“I shot this duck, and it fell in this field, and now I’m going in to retrieve it.”
“This is my property,” the old farmer replied. “And you are not coming over here.”
“I’m one of the best trial lawyers in New York,” said the lawyer. “And if you don’t let me get that duck, I’ll sue you and take everything you own.”
“Apparently, you don’t know how we do things in these parts of Tennessee,” said the farmer. “We settle disagreements like this with the Tennessee three-kick rule.”
“And just what is the Tennessee three-kick rule?”
“Well, first I kick you three times, and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth, until someone gives up.”
The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old-timer. He agreed to the local custom. The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the city slicker. His first kick planted the steel toe of his heavy work boot in the lawyer’s shin. The man fell to his knees. His second kick nearly put a hole in the man’s stomach. The old man then quickly delivered the third kick to the side of the attorney’s head. Slowly, the disoriented lawyer managed to get to his feet.
“OK, you old codger,” he said, “Now it’s my turn.”
The farmer smiled and said “Naw, I give up. You can have the duck”
I certainly don’t condone violence to settle a dispute, but the above example shows how the farmer chose to end the conflict by giving up and walking away.
This conflict could have continued until both were battered and bruised or one ended up dead.
There are a variety of things that could impair a person’s thought process. We hear a lot about how drugs and alcohol affect and impair vision and the ability to thing clearly. Drugs and alcohol impairment can wear off with the passing of time. The choices made during that period of impairment may have lasting or permanent consequences, such as a drunk driver causing a fatal accident.
The impairment of thinking is caused by the chemicals in the brain which are associated with thinking being altered by the alcohol or drugs.
Unfortunately, there are people who through no fault of there own have an impairment in thinking because of a chemical imbalance within their brain caused by a medical condition of a Mental Illness. This type of impairment could manifest itself in many ways that others could find disagreeable. If you can imagine having an impaired thought process all the time, then you might have a better understanding how some people live with a medical condition of a Mental Illness.
A medical condition of a Mental Illness is treatable to a degree that many live happy, fulfilled, and productive lives.
Unfortunately, just like the New York trial Attorney, many people misjudge others who don’t fit into their mold or perception of how the world should be. When this misperception of others happens because someone even suggests that someone may have a medical condition of a Mental Illness that is the stigma that is hard to overcome.
Many who have a medical condition of a Mental Illness have learned what the farmer in the above story knew which is how to deal with confrontation by defusing it and not encouraging or feeding into it. Instead of a negatively portraying a person who has a medical condition of a Mental Illness we should learn from their many examples and contributions. Some who gave us good examples to live by are famous such as President Abraham Lincoln.
You really can touch and it won’t rub off. Vote NO on Stigma.
Rev Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center. http://www.narrowpathminstries.org and http://www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org