Why is it that one fault can be so glaring we can’t see past it? It becomes easy to stare fixedly at the bad attitude or the sloppy work or the once-again-forgotten chore or the disorderly room and never look at the person behind it.
Or when we do look at the person, we see him through fault-colored glasses. We begin to equate the person with the fault. We think that the person is the fault.
Charlotte Mason’s gentle counsel is a wonderful perspective in those circumstances: “Remember, no one is made up of one fault, everyone is much greater than all his faults” (The Story of Charlotte Mason, p. 64).
I’m sure Charlotte encountered many such challenges as she lived with her student-teachers. Surely not every one of them was perfect; they must have had faults that could disrupt routines and derail expectations. There must have been seasons of friction and disappointment in that house.
Charlotte did not live in an ivory tower, high above all irritations. She spoke out of experience when she addressed this tendency to focus on faults. But rather than stare at the fault, she encouraged us to look at the person in a balanced way.
Yes, he may have that fault, but the fault is only one component of who he is. If we are working with a child to help him form a new habit, we need to view him as a person of worth right now. If we are dealing with an adult who has no intention of forming a new habit, we need to view her as more than just that one fault.
What Do You See?
I recently attended a seminar in which the speaker grabbed a sheet of paper, drew a dot on it, and held it over his head. He asked the audience, “What do you see?” The immediate response was, “A spot.”
He asked again, “No, what do you see?”
The answer, again, “A spot.”
“No,” he corrected. “You see a good-looking guy in a sweater, holding a piece of paper over his head. That paper just happens to have a spot on it.”
When something is not the way we think it should be, it’s easy to see only that spot—that fault—and ignore everything else.
So take some time today to focus on the whole person. Don’t stare at the fault. Intentionally see the bigger picture. List what you are thankful for in that person. Focus on the ways he is greater—much greater—than his faults.
“Remember, no one is made up of one fault, everyone is much greater than all his faults.”
Register Now for Mini-Seminar of Encouragement
The Mini-Seminar of Encouragement is this Saturday, November 13, 2010, in Clarkesville, Georgia. Sonya will be presenting the workshops: Laying Down the Rails and Reaching Your Child’s Heart. Register now to reserve your spot at this refreshing morning out to learn and be encouraged!