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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Communication Breakdown (12/16/10)

TITLE: One Wise Guy's Opinion
By Linda Germain


Dear Sol,

I seem to run into so many angry, hateful, mean-spirited people. How can we ďlove our neighborsĒ when they are low-down, nasty acting, dirt-bags? Where is the love?


Dear Confused,

We cannot make others behave the way we think is right. We can control how WE act, and more important, how we REACT. Every response is a choice.

The next time someone snarls, try a double dose of kindness. That person may have just heard bad news, or is broke with no place to go, or has been betrayed by a spouse or child or parent, or is suffering from the pain of a physical or emotional trauma. Many scenarios can cloud the vision and affect behavior.

Where is love, you ask? Find it in your own heart. Treat others the way you would want to be treated and pray that your example will touch someone who has no clue how to communicate in loving and positive ways.


Doctor King,

My husband ďAlĒ is a hard working, decent man but he is acting so different from when we first married. I donít think he loves me anymore. All he talks about is his dream of owning a red sports car. Itís not that we canít afford it, but there would be no room for me and the kids and the three dogs or my mother who lives with us. I say we need a mini-van. What is Al thinking? All of us would never fit.

Alís Old Lady

Dear AOL,

Seems as plain as day to me. Heís thinking, ďAll of you would never fit.Ē

Al is trying to tell you something and you canít see the forest for the treesÖor the husband for the people and animals.

He may feel trapped. Leave Grandma with the kids and you and Al go shopping for his dream vehicle. Remember, a sports car always has a passenger seat. I predict you will become his dream girl again. There are plenty of dependable, pre-owned family automobiles you can purchase for the group.

You arenít a man, and a man is certainly not a woman, but the best relationship advice I can give to both camps is so simple: if you could change places with your spouse, how would you feel if you worked hard and had a frivolous-seeming dream no one took seriously? Give him this break.


Dear Solomon,

I know you have degrees galore, and lots of experience, and have written all those books and even been on TV, but I have noticed something about you. All your advice always seems to boil down to a simple ruleÖthe Golden one. I thought everybody knew that, so what did all your education do for you?


Dear Puzzled,

It made me realize the basic premise in all communication is The Golden Rule.

Think about it. If thereís a breakdown in any relationship (in the work place, with our children or spouses or parents, in the community, at church) we can usually trace the problem back to a selfish behavior.

Being humans, those deadly sins most certainly trip us up and try to corrupt us (in case you donít remember them, they are: lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy, and pride).

And just how do we stop the disruption generated from sin? Donít do to someone else what you would never want done to you. Period.


Dear Doctor Sol,

I want to run away. No one understands me. My mother yells all the time about what she thinks is inappropriate language, and my father doesnít trust me. He says Iím ďasking for itĒ the way I dress and that I need to get some good sense. Whatís it to them? They made plenty of mistakes.

Unhappy Teen

Dear Teen,

There are some things you wonít understand until you have matured enough to have accumulated a little wisdom. Having said that, it sounds like your parents love you or they wouldnít care how you speak and what you wear.

I suggest you ask for a family meeting. Donít push any buttons by wearing provocative clothing or peppering your comments with trashy talk. Simply ask them if you all made a few changes, would they trust you and stop hurting your feelings with all the yelling.

Iím sending you a copy of my book, If Parents and Children Could Change Places. We can all stand a refresher course in doing unto others.

Pass it on.


Psalm 133:1 (NKJV)

How good and pleasant it is when Godís people live together in unity!

Luke 6:31 (NKJV)

And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/27/10
This was a clever idea--to use the advice from Solomon. Your variety of questions showed different types of communication breakdown well.
Sunny Loomis 12/27/10
Good job. i like the advice column idea. Thank you.
Noel Mitaxa 12/27/10
Very creative approach to the topic. An enjoyable and provocative read. Well done.
Henry Clemmons12/30/10
I am a BIG fan of creativity, especially when it is a vehicle for a worthwhile message and driven masterfully. This was one of my favorites. Great job and congrats on EC!
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/30/10
Congratulations, Linda, on your EC for this very creative piece.
Cheryl Harrison12/30/10
Linda - congrats on your placing. I'm glad I didn't miss this one. Good message all the way through. Blessings.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/04/11
Congratulations for doing so well with this wonderful piece! I really enjoyed it