“What causes a problem matters less than what maintains it” – Trevor Kashey
“Who did this?”
The question hung in the silence for what seemed like an eternity as two sets of eyes looked back at me in fear, eagerly waiting to see how they should respond to this emotional time, depending on how upset I was.
Another broken item in the home. Not an uncommon experience although it is one that drives me a little crazy.
My desire to get to the bottom of who, what, why and when of these sorts of situations can be helpful to figure out just what happened, but at the same time it can cause greater stress than the traumatic breaking of the breakfast bowl.
The result can leave kids being so afraid of breaking something that they get anxious about carrying a bowl from the kitchen to the table and in their anxiety, drop said bowl and break it. Creating more anxiety. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This can happen in any area of life. We can get so caught up in avoiding failure that we are afraid to act, and when something does inevitably go wrong, we can expend all this energy figuring out who or what caused it, getting stuck in the process of dealing out blame. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for accountability and being responsible for your actions, but if it’s just about discovering who to get angry at then we have missed the point. Anger doesn’t create solutions. Blame doesn’t create growth.
Instead of asking, “who did this?”, a better question is “what can we learn from this?”, or “how do we grow from this?” or “how can we improve this?”
Who or what causes a problem ‘matters less than what maintains it.’ It’s not about how we got here but it’s about where to from here.