I tend to connect with people in the strangest ways and places. My most recent connection was with a mom and her two young daughters at a collision repair shop. We’ll call her Ms. Ma’am. Ms. Ma’am and I came to the conclusion that our fathers were the most amazing men ever because they took care of our car issues growing up. She expressed how she longs for this same relationship between her daughters and their father. As our conversation continued, I learned that we also had relationship woes in common. Ms. Ma’am worried about her daughters’ behavior taking a turn for the worst in response to their father leaving the home. Insert professional experience. I offered her my email address so I could forward her a list of referrals for family counseling services. We talked for a few minutes more before she had to leave.
About 30 minutes later, a barber walks into the shop to get an update on his vehicle. We’ll call him Mr. Sir. My youngest son engaged him because the barber complimented his mohawk. I mentioned that his sons will especially appreciate having a barber for a dad when they get older. They’ll have picture perfect hair every day. Mr. Sir revealed that he has daughters, so he will never be admired for his work at home. After some time discussing his state of affairs, I felt the urge to ask him one question. “Are you sure you want out of your marriage?” He shook his head no as the tears flooded his eyes. He still loved his wife and wanted his family to be restored. He just didn’t feel he could measure up to his wife’s idea of the perfect husband. Insert personal experience. I knew all too well what it was to have the perfect father. My dad definitely set a standard of what integrity looks like. I encouraged the gentleman to keep his daughters in mind as he deals with their mother; despite the relationship issues. His character can shape their expectations of men and develop their self-esteem in the future. He agreed that family counseling would be beneficial to help with co-parenting at the very least. Mr. Sir asked if I could please call his wife to survey her thoughts and convey his. Under normal circumstances, I’d be adding to my Pinterest boards. This was definitely an awkward moment in an already abnormal conversation for a first encounter. Yet I felt an indescribable peace in the opportunity to talk to his wife. He dialed the number, she answered the phone, and I recognized the voice. It was Ms. Ma’am, the woman who left the shop about an hour earlier! Fast forward through the details…Ms. Ma’am returned to the shop. The couple embraced each other and talked. I got a great estimate for my car repairs.
I drove home feeling great until self-doubt kicked in. I questioned if I qualified to help in this capacity when clearly I haven’t achieved that level of success for myself. My self-doubt quickly faded. Of course I qualified! In fact, I qualify because of my experiences. So here is my very valuable lesson for this post: share your story. It exists for a reason.
Perhaps things didn’t work out with my children’s father so I’d be forced to reflect and rebuild. I was able to reflect on my personal goals and rebuild my entire life in pursuit of intrinsic happiness and stability. That experience helped me connect with Ms. Ma’am. Single-parenting doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It just may be the beginning of your road to self-confidence. Perhaps my new marriage ended so I’d be forced to connect with the father of my children. I was able to commend him for things I had not valued before, and was strong enough to hear what he had to say. Being at peace with him helped me connect with Mr. Sir. It’s totally worth being in a good place with the other parent.
Intentional or not, we impart our presence into others upon every encounter. Allow your presence to encourage someone. Shift your perspective of your painful experiences. Your silver lining could create something new for someone else! Only time will tell if this couple will stay together. Fortunately, my goal was not for them to renew their vows. That has to be their goal. I was just glad I could play a part in their potential mending by being vulnerable and not shameful. I tend to connect with people in the strangest ways, but for the greatest reasons. A positive connection can make all the difference. What’s your story?
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