Book: Reflections

Reflections - bringing attention to your daily life by Désirée Steinmann

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Reflections of the Week

How not to get stressed by family members, friends and other people in the Xmas time? Part 3 – Don’t assume – clarify!

2012-12-08 20:28 (comments: 0)

Last week we talked about how we get influenced by our feelings and the stories which we tell to ourselves. Today we are going to look at something very different: we will try to find clarity about facts and assumptions.

As an example I would like to use this short story which I got from one of my clients:

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: "Daddy, may I ask you a question?"

DAD: "Yeah sure, what is it?" replied the man.

SON: "Daddy, how much do you make an hour?"

DAD: "That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?" the man said angrily.

SON: "I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?"

DAD: "If you must know, I make RM.100 an hour."

SON: "Oh," the little boy replied, with his head down.

SON: "Daddy, may I please borrow RM.50?"

The father was furious, "If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard every day for such childish behavior. 

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy's questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that RM.50 and he really didn't ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door.

"Are you asleep, son?" He asked.

"No daddy, I'm awake," replied the boy.

"I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier" said the man. "It's been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here's the RM.50 you asked for."

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. "Oh, thank you daddy!" He yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

"Why do you want more money if you already have some?" the father grumbled.

"Because I didn't have enough, but now I do," the little boy replied. "Daddy, I have RM.100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you."

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

(Source: Internet)

How often do we believe that we know exactly why somebody said what they said? How often are we convinced that the person with whom we talked knew exactly what we wanted and therefore on purpose chose to do something that would upset us, just to spite us?  How often do we try to clarify such situations in an open discussion?

Please take a moment and analyze the differences between a fact and an assumption and if you aren’t sure, ask for clarification. Most problems between people originate in misunderstandings which could be so easily avoided!

Please let us know in our Blog about the misunderstandings you have managed to avoid by getting to the bottom of things!





Children’s books are made the way the publishers assume, that the bookstores believe, that the parents think the children might like them.

Peter Hohl


Man lives in a world of surmise, of mystery, of uncertainties.

John Dewey


The language, invented so that people can communicate, clarify and to open up, is misused by the spin doctors as a smoke screen, to confuse.

Friedrich Luft



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