Focus forward


Sometimes, it takes a crisis to reveal faults in individual or collective perceptions of the world.

The recent government shutdown was seemingly inescapable. It seems few conversations did not mention the developments in Washington. Some discussions have outlined its impact, but more hotly debated is its cause.

Here at Samford, the consensus seems to be that Democrats, especially President Obama, are to blame. In other places, Republicans are said to be responsible. Realistically, there will never be a unanimous agreement about the reason for this period of turmoil. Arguing about it, even if a national consensus was made, would not solve anything. Rather than on the nature of a conflict, but the focus should be on a solution.

Americans seem to be obsessed with naming a scapegoat whenever things go awry. When the problem is political, the president becomes an easy target, regardless of party. When the problem has to do with pop culture, media is to blame.

The value placed on the blame game carries into personal relationships.

Too many friendships and relationships dissolve after trivial disagreements. People get so caught up in the detail of deciding who is to blame that they fail to grasp the big picture of potential resolutions.

Blame can vacillate between opposing sides for an eternity. The better alternative is to agree to disagree and then spend effort on solving the conflict at hand.

Many argue that the government shutdown should not have occurred at all, and they may be onto something. But once it did occur, moving forward was the only possible option.

People undeniably looked backward instead of toward the future. In fact, many still are and will probably continue to search for a scapegoat for years to come. Perhaps the government shutdown could have ended sooner if a different response was initiated more quickly.

It is too late to wonder about what could have been different in that situation, but it is never too late to change individual perspective. Recognizing and altering one’s focus in response to conflicts could make a difference for the many trials he or she will undoubtedly face in a society driven by conversation and contact with others.

Disagreements are bound to happen. Determining whether they are clarifying or destructive experiences depends on how the involved parties respond..

If they respond with an attitude of bitterness and blame, the disagreement could become a far larger ordeal. However, a response of humility and a emphasis on solving the problem will halt the conflict before it is inflated beyond control.

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