It is a dangerous thing. It escapes practically no-one, as I learned the other day.
Many people want to be in charge, make a decision, feel that people need them, feel like they make the rules, feel they need to lecture people about the rules. Does power make people feel good??
As most of my readers know, I started teaching last year. As hubby would say, during the first 6 months, we were 'holding on by a thread'. In other words, we were still great parents, our kids were happy and healthy, life continued. However, some things slipped. Housework. Paperwork. Organization. So one of the things I messed up was I missed the CCD sign ups (CCD=religious classes at our church).
Not a world catastropie, not the end of the world, let's keep perspective. Right?
I am not sure why, but I decided to share the news with a bunch of people in my life that the church's response to me was that they will accept my money but I can't pick cherub 1's class, A.K.A. -she get punished for my mistake. So the church (the focal point of our little world that teaches us to be gracious and forgive mistakes) was notsomuch following their own example. Sorry, slacker, your kids can learn but NOT with their friends because you were a bad girl. We'll place her with some strangers. That will make her feel welcome and at home. I guess that is what happens when you don't mail your paperwork on time. Hmmm, forgiveness? No, power.
Many of the people I shared this info with reacted with the 'how could you let that one slip' attitude and the 'let me tell you why the church acts as they do-the reasons that places have application deadlines'. Notsomuch what I needed.
Has anyone every leaned on people for understanding? Not expecting to be told they are right or wrong. Just leaning on someone. NOT to get advice or be ASSURED they are screwed or they screwed up. Just leaning on someone-because we KNOW we screwed up and we don't like the consequences. Those people used their power on me. Power to put me in my place (not necessarily intentionally).
What happened you ask?
I met with the church people yesterday. Looking back, I guess I used power too. Words. Positive power. I killed them kindness. I apologized (and I meant it). I know it is frustrating when people are late. I've been on the other side. I am human. Aren't we all? In the end, lucky for me I had offered to co-teach so cherub 1 stays with her people. My other power, humor. Heck, I was only 4 months late! I did get a chuckle out of the coordinator.
Next year, my paperwork will (hopefully) be on time. I'm optimistic. Next year, my power might even be organization. In the meantime, I continue to be human and hope that others can accept that.
It is a million times harder to find the fault in oneself than in others.
Be careful when using your power. Tread lightly. Everyone is human.