Plaque in my office:
MY WIFE SAYS I DON’T LISTEN TO HER.
At least I think that’s what she said.
Isn’t it weird how easy we can fall into the trap of the “Blame Game?” My wife had given me the assignment to take our six-month yellow Labrador Retriever puppy to be neutered (castrated-ouch!) last week.
She was out of town so I figured I could handle this task just fine. Feeling for Griffey, who was going to undergo the transformational surgery in the morning, I took him to our vet. When we arrived the receptionist looked at us with a puzzled look and said, “Who is this dog?” I replied, “The dog you are supposed to neuter today.” They didn’t even have him in the computer system. Things were going from bad to worse for Griffey. First he was to lose his manhood and now he was said to not even exist. We both left, tails between our legs (figuratively), but somewhat relieved.
Believing this must be some kind of sign from God, I put him in the seat next to me in the car and assured Griffey of God’s great mercy, “You really dodged a bullet today, buddy!” I told him as I nuzzled his face. I then decided to call Cindy to ask her what in the heck happened. She was a little bit agitated at me and informed me that I had gone to the wrong vet. As it turns out, Griffey was scheduled for his “procedure” to take place at PetSmart, of all places. PetSmart? The place that sells pet supplies does this kind of surgery? Since when did they get in the castration business?
She then calmly reminded me that she had told me that this was to be at PetSmart all along and those words I hate to hear… “You must have not been listening.” I let her know that I am sure that I would have remembered PetSmart. If she had said PetSmart, a little red flag would have gone up, PetSmart? Neutering? What?! I thought they just sold dog toys! But no such red flag went up in my head, so I just heard, “Griffey… neutering… Friday… vet… blah… blah… blah… blah.”
After I dropped Griffey off at PetSmart for the surgery that would change his life forever, I decided to call Cindy back and apologize. How quickly I had jumped to the place of BLAME. How my frustration with the breakdown of communication went to examining HER lack of clarity in telling me that this surgery was going to be at an illogical place like PetSmart and not focusing upon my lack of LISTENING. This is the “Blame Game.” We all do it. I believe the important thing is to catch ourselves when we do, and then humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness, and own what we must own!
What do YOU do when you catch yourself doing it? (Please share your comments below – we can all use some encouragement!)
Jamie Bohnett is the director of the Fatherhood Forum and author of the book Like Father, Like Son: Rediscovering Sonship On the Fathering Journey. He has been married since 1974 to the same amazing woman, Cindy, and is a father of four and grandfather of two. Jamie is passionate about his marriage and his family, and enjoys encouraging other men to grow in their faith and in their faithfulness to their family through small groups.