Testing Some Theories

Posted: April 20, 2015 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

By Matt Horan

In order to prove a theory, you have to test it out and see if it holds true.  I have a couple theories I’m mulling over in my role as a church pastor, and would be curious to know if anybody might spot exceptions that might disprove them.

Here’s a few:

Theory 1:

  • It’s not the congregation’s responsibility to put away their mobile devices during a worship service.  It’s my job to lead my team to design worship services that are more compelling that whatever might be found on the congregation’s mobile device.
  • I do not have the right to expect people to attend worship services.  If I want someone to attend a worship service that I lead, it is my job to lead my team to design worship services so compelling that people don’t want to be absent because they’re afraid they might miss something extraordinary.

Theory 2:

  • When in conflict, asking questions to draw out a confession intends to humiliate to the person being questioned and creates roadblocks to restoring the relationship.  (“How could you forget something that important?”  “What were you doing when you should have been working on our project?”)
  • Stating up front what you suspect is happening and why you suspect it demonstrates respect to the other person and is a starting point on the journey to restoring the relationship.  (“I feel like this was more important to me than you, or else you wouldn’t have forgotten.  Could we talk about why we may have come to see this so differently?”)

Theory 3:

  • Complaining about someone behind their back shows that we’re trying to hurt them by damaging their reputation.
  • Bringing a complaint directly to the person shows that you hold them in high enough esteem that our relationship with them is worth restoring.

Theory 4:

  • It is not another person’s job to interact with us the way we prefer.
  • We do not have the right to blame others for not meeting our expectations unless we have clearly communicated them and come to an understanding in which they agree to meet them.
  • It is our job to communicate how we’d like others to interact with us, inquire about how to inspire that interaction, and then act accordingly if we want that interaction badly enough to justify the required effort.

Theory 5:

  • We should not expect behavior from our children that we are not willing to model ourselves.
  • We should expect to see behaviors in our children that we model for them.

Theory 6:  A Parenting Metaphor

  • Children are like a blind person walking into a room for the first time, groping around in the darkness to find where the walls and furniture are.  They want to know the boundaries, and need everything to remain in the same place.  If the walls and furniture move, they will inevitably get hurt.
  • Children want to be able to predict what will happen as a result of their actions.  If they get two different reactions from the same action, they will continue to experiment until they can predict the outcome with maximum accuracy.
  • If children suspect a fluctuation in the reaction to their actions, they will focus their energy on that fluctuation in order to learn to predict it.
  • As unpredictability increases in a child’s environment, so will their anxiety and frustration with that environment.
  • Overcoming this anxiety and frustration will become the primary goal in that child’s life until they figure out how to predict the outcome, or until the parent yields control of the environment over to the child.
  • If a parent yields control of a child’s environment to the child, the child will take responsibility for creating predictability.
  • Once a child takes control of creating predictability, they will see the parent as the source of unpredictability, and solve it by actively working to prevent the parent’s influence over their environment in order to maintain the predictability they’re trying to create.  At best, the parent will be seen as an annoyance or burden; and at worst, an enemy.
  • When a child lives in a predictable environment, they will see their parents as the source of the predictability, and develop a close connection and thankfulness for them.  The “predictable parents” will have the effect of giving the child a feeling of peace, contentment, and safety; because once they believe that the foundation below them will not shift, they feel safe to climb and explore higher order subject matter that will stretch them and help them grow.

Have you seen exceptions that disprove these theories?  Any discussion would be helpful!

Many thanks!



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