Oct 22, 2016

Taking a Tough Stance

There is an extraordinary, first person, true story told here.  I don't want to retell it in my own words when you can hear it directly from a person who was there, so I hope you will watch it.  I will just say it has to do with a person telling someone off in blunt terms and how this had a positive outcome.
It occurred to me that if the approach would have been non-confrontational and tolerant, as other people handled it, then we wouldn't have much of a story.  In this case, being judgmental (gasp) had a marvelous outcome. 
I read an article about a kindly rabbi who spent hours counseling people and making calls on their behalf.  Most followed his advice but there were some who were nudniks who went to him time after time, sharing their woes, but never following up on his suggestions.  One time, a fellow in his 20's who had dropped out of college (although he received a scholarship), did not hold a job, and mostly spent his days in bed, despite repeated encouragement and advice from the rabbi, went to the rabbi yet again.  The rabbi snapped and told him off.  The fellow ran out.  The rabbi was devastated by what he did.  He tried contacting the young man without success and was told he left town.  The rabbi thought of worst case scenarios and castigated himself for losing his temper. 
Years later, the young man stopped him on the street and thanked him! The rabbi was bowled over by their chance encounter and how the young man looked marvelous and wondered why the man wasn't furious with him.  The rabbi apologized for his behavior and said he had been searching for him to ask forgiveness. 
The young man was shocked by this and said he made it in life because the rabbi had shaken him up.  Nobody had spoken to him that way before and this is what helped him, not all the kindness and sympathy for his nebech plight.  And he said that the rabbi had also said positive and encouraging things even as he yelled at him, and he realized that it was all true (albeit painful) and that the rabbi cared about him.  The young man had gone to yeshiva, opened a business, and married and was living a purposeful life. 
So when to be soft and when to be tough, that is the question!

No comments:

Post a Comment