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The Common Sense of Consideration (Graciousness, part 2 of 4)


Grace Under Pressure Radio Episode 19 — The Common Sense of Consideration

Consideration allows others to be who they are and make their own mistakes even when it makes no sense. Yes, we can argue logic but…arguing, confrontation, and logic don’t solve most problems…

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. —Proverbs 17: 14, NIV

Tip: Deflect and reflect.

It's cold in Montana winters!

It’s cold in Montana winters!


Cool kids still have to learn to make great choices!

The football game = natural consequences…it’s cold in the winter in Montana!

  • Sometimes folks need to learn because of their experience. Don’t rob them of that! A quick story about my youngest son and my exchange son…and their choice that taught a lesson no words could have about wearing the proper winter garb to a 10 degree football game…
  • What happens when saying it nicely doesn’t work?
  • What does it take to get the point across?
  • Is it really necessary to win the argument?
  • What if most arguments camouflage the need to be right?
  • I’m right, and you’re wrong. This stiff-necked or rebellious attitude doesn’t solve any problem. It doesn’t move a stubborn Alzheimer’s patient into a different frame of mind or a rebellious teen any closer to what’s “good for them.” Black and white legalistic logic doesn’t make a schizophrenic suddenly believe your reality over what’s in his or her head. The right/wrong stance creates opponents, not team players. So why play tug of war just to be right? Pulling the other party into the mud puddle just leaves them covered in mud.
  • Love and Logic is a parenting program that teaches excellent skills. Often people repeat the same mistake until a memorable lesson sinks in. Master the art or affordability. An affordable mistake allows natural consequences to curb the desire. Similar to the boys’ experience at the football game, affordable consequences that have a little healthy pain teach good life lessons versus being life threatening or causing irreparable damage. The early affordable lesson prevents the likelihood of an expensive lesson later.
  • An expensive mistake is one that could cost life, limb, or irreplaceable damage. One example from Love and Logic is a child running out in front of a car. That’s not an affordable error. It would cause irreparable harm. You must intervene to avoid irreversible results.
  • The surprise is that this concept can work for adult decisions. Who said that all wisdom should be directed at childrearing? Ask yourself:
  • Is it an affordable mistake?
  • Is it at the expense of someone or something else?
  • Expensive or expense of?
  • Sometimes an expensive mistake is worth a later result. Think of a rough situation. Say that a young man chooses to hurt a girl’s feelings. The girl decides to break up with him but keeps the ring and other gifts he’s given her.
  • Hurting his girlfriend’s feelings is expensive, but to make that mistake with a wife could be even more expensive. Weigh the lesson you learn now against the cost of learning it later, which may have a higher price.
  • Think about expensive versus expense of. Sometimes it is a good idea for a boy to learn that mistreatment of women causes loss of relationship. What if that same young man had learned earlier in life that speaking disrespectfully to women resulted in being shunned from family activities? It would be tough on a little boy, sure, but which is a harder lesson to learn: the loss of family time or the loss of a girlfriend? Which would be even more expensive, the loss of family time, the loss of the girlfriend, or the loss of a wife?
  • Project the needed lesson into the future and acknowledge the degree of difficulty. Things get harder and consequences become more dear as you mature, not the other way around.
  • When you begin to teach affordable versus expensive natural consequences, logic floats to the surface sooner. What happens when the other person isn’t logical? When mental illness or long years of habit or rebellion block logical response to obvious consequences?
  • The alexandrite changes colors in different lighting, indoor and outdoor. Much like the precious gem there are different ways to look at the situation; but it’s very hard to nearly impossible to fabricate something as good as the natural result of a poor decision.
  • What is important — the satisfied feeling of being right or solving the problem?
  • What good does it do to argue logic against the illogical? You just get frustrated.
  • Does saying “You should” make any difference?
  • Don’t accept counsel or be a person who counsels with “you should.” Don’t accept counsel from angry people or politically correct mantras. The focus becomes appeasing their anger rather than solving the dilemma. Remember to apply this to your children, too. Do you really want them to appease your anger or to learn how to solve problems as they mature?
  • Don’t try to argue or use anger to solve a problem. It will really trip you up to argue with patients with dementia or mental illness. Logic isn’t in their realm. Why get all out of kilter right along with them? Think about it: That’s buying into the illness or rebellion rather than creative problem solving. If the only thing that matters is being correct or correcting, let it go. Save the argument for some time when it really matters.
  • Do get counseling for yourself. You have to deal with feelings and issues that exist, otherwise the lack of trust, as well as unforgiveness and anger, will overcome you.
  • Do find others who have been through a similar situation or are further ahead on the journey, and have come out the other side. They think a little more clearly and can sometimes help you get rid of the unreasonable fears and recognize problems in your logic too. The closer we are to a situation, the easier it is to blur it.
  • Admit that there are unreal and real fears and that both feel legit. Cope by getting educated. Learn as much as possible about the situation or fear.
  • Be proactive rather than reactive.
  • Pray and make intelligent decisions rather than being paralyzed and making emotional decisions.
  • Act to the best of your ability with the tools you have been given throughout your life. Work with what you know, and ask others what they know. These are excellent starting points.
  • Add to your toolbox each time. Every experience will add another tool, even if it is uncomfortable and it hurts. Learn from those, and let others learn too.
  • Use your new questions: Is it an affordable mistake? Is it too expensive? What would be the higher experience expense: pay now or pay later? What’s the worst that could happen? Can I live with that? When the worst that could happen is mere discomfort, can discomfort be the lesson?
Light purple alexandrite

   Light purple alexandrite

      • Scientists tried to create alexandrite in the lab. They found out that the cost was too high when compared with mining the real stone. But they wouldn’t have known without trying, and they learned some valuable lessons.
      • Our boys wear warm clothing to cold football games because they learned it on their own. Our experience with teens helped us to look for more creative ways to solve repetitive mistakes. If there’s a pattern, it will happen again. Plan, and then wait until it happens again to try something new.
      • Wrapping it up: I will practice putting my attention on the problem and not getting distracted by arguing logic or political correctness or semantics. I will allow others to voice their beliefs, communicating that I accept it’s not my right to force a change. It’s also my right not to be forced to change. The issue is solving the problem, not being right.
      • Appreciation Moments: I wish I could say more, but with limited time I want to at least say thank you to as many as I can for sharing Grace Under Pressure Radio and helping to promote the books I write. I’m so appreciative that you’d take your time to support me!

Janet Hewitt @yell_oohhCarol McClain @carol_mcclainKaren Whiting author @KarenHWhiting

and Sherri WilsonJohnson @swj_thewriter 

      • Thank you also to folks on Facebook for sharing the new releases on Kindle and Audible of The Debutante Queen and Eleven Pipers Piping… Sheila Traczuk, Tina Wilson, and Tristan Leder (who happened to voice the audiobooks). But also a big thank you to folks that are first reviewers like Harry Wegley and his wife who gave The Debutante Queen 5 stars after listening to the story in the car on a long drive. Thank you all!

Did you miss any of the previous shows? Here’s the first in each series…







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EP — 18 How Do We Get Courtesy Back? (Graciousness Part 1 of 4)


This Month’s Topic is Graciousness

EP —18 The Secret of Courtesy

To answer before listening, that is folly and shame. — Proverbs 18: 13, NIV

Jade, a precious stone, was overlooked by conquistadors.

Jade, a precious stone, was overlooked by conquistadors.

One of the oldest stones used for jewelry is jade. Two types exist, called jadeite and nephrite. The most sought after is an emerald green, although jade is found in lavenders, white, reddish brown, apple green, and mixed variety. Jade cutters are specialized and mostly found in China because Spanish Conquistadors extinguished jade cutting in the Americas in Pre-Columbian times. Impatient for the gold they valued, they viewed jade as a distracting bauble of no consequence. With a brush of a hand, annoyed conquistadors lost opportunities.

  • Have you ever felt like you’d romped with a porcupine?
  • Have your words or actions speared someone else with sharp quills?
  • What was the result?

Angie’s Story

The busy travel agency had a steady stream of clients. There were four travel agents at that time, and four desks. Mine was at the back. This was the time before the travel industry had taken a nosedive from online purchasing and changed airline rules.

“Certainly, I can book that for you.” I answered.

“But I’m not sure when I should go. Are there any specials?” The gentleman asked over the phone.

“Not really. Travel to Europe is more a matter of seasons right now. But I can check if you’ll give me a couple of minutes.” The line went dead. Oh no, I wondered if making him wait those few minutes caused irritation. I sighed. I should have punched in the most common route and quoted it.

The phone rang. From the desk next to me, another agent answered, “Yes sir, she’s right here. One moment please.”

I picked up the line and heard my client say, “I’m sorry, the lines up here are sketchy sometimes.”

“Oh that’s all right. Maybe you could give me your number just in case you get cut off.” I jotted down what he told me on a scratch pad.

The agency owner glanced back. “What’s going on back there?”

“Excuse me one moment, sir,” I covered the mouthpiece. “I just had a customer cut off, but we’re fine.”

She looked annoyed, but went back to her work.

“Okay,” I said. “I managed to find out that I can get you to London and then after a short layover, you can go on to Brussels.”

“That’s great. After that, I need to spend two days in Rome and then over to Paris.”

“And you’re sure the dates don’t matter?”

“No, as long as I let them know when I’ll be there, the meetings can be made around my schedule.”

I smiled. “Wouldn’t that be cool?” I teased back, matching his light tone as I worked. “To be the one traveling around the world and everyone is at your beck and call. Nice.” I continued building the schedule between the cities he needed for the business trip, but I could feel my boss glaring at me.

“Stop playing!” She growled. “I don’t pay you to waste time.”

Ignoring her, I hit the enter key.

He bantered back as we waited for the computer to catch up to me. “It is nice when the world revolves around me.” He laughed, and I laughed with him.

I sent up a silent prayer, thanking God for pleasant people that made up for the not-so-pleasant people in the world. “Well, you won’t believe it!”


If he were in front of my desk, I knew he’d be leaning in to hear the good news. Of course, if he were in front of my desk, my boss wouldn’t be so suspicious. She’d be able to see the customer. “I found a special!” We’d have high-fived over my desk, if he sat in the office; we settled for a whoo-hoo over the crackly line.

I told him the fare. “This special, you’ll save about two hundred dollars, if we back you up by one day.” We whoo-hooed again. It would have been so much fun to have this client here instead of miles away. “Want to?”

“Yep. Let me get my credit card.” He punched a button, and I could hear the tinny sound of being on speaker.

“Make sure and grab your frequent flier card, too.” I called into the receiver. I smiled again as I listened to him rustle around his desk and chat about such a find, this new agent of his, was for the budget. I felt great. I loved helping people, and I loved it when something good like this happened.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Claudette coming toward me. She lifted her eyebrow and stared at me. My grin melted like cheese under a broiler.

The line went dead again. “Oh for Pete’s sake!” I pulled the snippet of paper over and dialed the number.

“What do you think you are doing?” Claudette demanded. “Are you making a long distance call?”

“I’m calling my client back.” The phone rang.

He picked up. “Hi, I’ve got my—”

Claws grabbed the phone out of my hand and shouted into it. “You don’t make long distance calls!” And she hung up.

“What did you do that for?”

“You need to get back to work.”

“Claudette, that was work.”

“That was you goofing around and making me pay for long distance to your friends.”

“What?” Where’s the camera? I scrunched my brows and looked around behind her. Where’s the practical joker? Nothing. No camera. No silly laughter from the other agents. They sat with their faces averted. “He was getting me his credit card.”

“No more long distance. Do you understand me?” She spun on her heel and stalked back to the front cubicle.

If Claudette had only listened, I’d have closed quite a large sale. Her impatience to save money on a small expense caused a judgment error and cost her the income of not only this ticket, but of the future business from my would-be client and his new endeavors.

That happened years ago. It was undoubtedly one of the best lessons of my life because I understood the harmful ricochet effect. I saw the quick assumption from my boss: damaged business, unprofessional behavior, people devalued, and the loss of trust. Claudette’s assumptive impatience stood in the way of relationship and logic. But I learned to listen first.

  • Which is more common for you: rushing or fearing the decision?
  • What kind of person do you want to be?
  • Are patience and common courtesy connected?

Sometimes it’s the listening. Waiting as someone tells a story. Claudette would race into the room and fire off a bunch of questions. She’d be on the fifth question, all the while not hearing people try to answer them, and have employees flustered and upset.

It’s interesting that impatient people seem to be the ones who can’t take the time to listen to the other person. Yet they get upset when things aren’t done correctly (i.e., their way). Impatience leads to inappropriate interference, and then confusion wins over common sense.

It’s easy to feel like a bunch of sharp porcupine quills are sticking out of your skin after a run-in with an impatient person.

Are you the one doing the sticking?


  • Impatience, quick, snappy, irritable, edgy, quick-tempered, thoughtless decisions.
  • Procrastination, postpones action, dilly-dally, delay, stall.

Polishing Point

There is time for an even keel in most situations. We’ve become so busy that we no longer recognize the difference between emergent and important. Like an abused child who is used to a house full of shouting and beatings, emergent seems normal. We’ve been trained in this culture of immediacy to accept the unacceptable and become a society lacking common courtesies. But does it have to stay that way?


  • Emergent: crisis, danger, difficulty, serious situation needing prompt attention.
  • Important: having great effect, monumental influence, high-ranking, great authority.
  • Patience: calm endurance, composure, self-control, serenity.

How do we cope with impatient people? Remember that funny little proverb, “Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” It’s easy to get caught up in emotion and then own the problem. Stop.

Slow down and become observant. When someone else seems to be spinning out of control, take a step back and watch. Intense feelings are contagious.

How do you practice patience? Recognize the traits. Distance yourself from toxic emotions by physically taking a step back or lifting your hands off the desk.

Here’s an example: At a more recent job, I sat at the desk counting money and using archaic forms to track inventory. Another woman, a little higher strung, began grabbing various papers and portions of the money “to help.” She’d done it before, the grabbing and shuffling. Rather than get drawn into her tension, I lifted my hands off the paperwork and rolled my chair back away from the desk.

Why? It wasn’t worth the stress. She may have been impatient, but I wasn’t. I could wait it out and watch. I didn’t need to buy into the high-level confusion. I’ve noticed that participating in someone else’s perceived emergency doesn’t speed up the process, but it does raise my blood pressure.

It’s interesting to note the reaction of the other person. They might try to draw you in with accusing questions or emotional statements. They live in the world of discourtesy and impatience. That’s their world, not mine, and it doesn’t have to be yours.

When you notice an impatient person, mentally slow down. Watch. Notice the other reactions around you. Notice how unproductive and confusing the scene becomes. I say “scene” because it is helpful to consider the experience from an objective point of view—like watching a movie, on the outside looking in.

Consider the sailor in the crow’s nest and how his entire focus is to watch. Be like that sailor: watchful and thoughtful. Pick out the nuances of impatience the way the sailor picks out dark clouds in the distance.

How does abrupt behavior make you feel? How do the other people in the room react? Does anyone become defensive against the storm of discourtesy?

Try a quiet response. “Can you slow down please?” Remember that a quiet response is crucial. No yelling. Loud voices only amp up the emotion. Quiet voices actually stand out. The world isn’t all rush-rush. We’ve created it. We can uncreate it. Think about it: How do other societies around the world exist? Why do we have to feed on impatience?

How do you deal with impatience? Watch, get quiet, and recognize selfish, unproductive words and actions. Begin to focus on courtesy rather than intense pressure. Visualize serenity by thinking on pure things. Calm can be as catching as impatience.

I plan to practice patience, serenity, and professional behavior so I will not create added tension. That’s what I have control over today. How about you?


Appreciation moments:

The retweets and Facebook shares are so appreciated. I have to say thank you to:

Anita Morrison, Christine Lindsey, Pastor Michael Duncan, Maureen Pratt, Pam Farrel, Linda Evans Shepherd, the Leading Hearts Magazine tweets @myleadinghearts. I appreciate you all, thank you.

Did you miss previous topics? Here’s the first in each topical series…




Boundaries (This one is special for handling tough personalities at family holidays)


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EP — 17 Setting Boundaries for Family Holidays



Setting boundaries for family holidays

  • Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial — 1 Corin. 6: 12
  • Setting boundaries for family holidays takes pre-planning.
  • People feel they can say or do anything without ramifications.
  • People we love, the closest to us, often take advantage of that relationship to say and do anything that isn’t respectful or kind. Unfiltered meanness isn’t appropriate. There may be some exceptions like mental illness or medical reason, but it doesn’t mean you have to take that.
  • Blaming and scapegoating visual or personal issues by attacking verbally isn’t appropriate. Attacking a symptom is not okay. Because of being a family or friend doesn’t give anyone the right to attack you personally.
  • Repetitive patterns can be changed by being proactive instead of reactive. That person who always says that same thing…Be prepared for it this year.
  • The blame and shame game isn’t going to change anything. What are you going to do differently to change the equation with habitual attackers?
  • Brainstorm new responses in advance. Some general ideas:
    • Excuse me? Were you meaning to be so rude? (This is holding your boundaries, calling them on the carpet is not rude.)
    • Choose to remove yourself.
    • Choose not to go to the event.
    • Head it off before it starts: Happy to see you here. I’m expecting you’re going to be polite through the whole evening…is that right?
    • What are some other, more gracious ways?
    • I’m sure you didn’t mean that they way it sounded, what did you really mean?
    • I understand you’ve said that to me before. But since nothing has changed, I’m just going to let you rest with that.
    • When I feel ready to have that conversation, I’ll let you know. But until then, this topic is closed.
    • Turn to someone else and start a different conversation.
    • If the attacker must share their opinion: Thanks for that opinion. (And then move on to something else without saying anything else.)
    • Those words sound a little bit too heavy. At this point I’d rather enjoy my time with family, would you?
    • Wow, I didn’t come for this kind of a show, did you? Let’s have a nice conversation.
    • I don’t really want to talk about that right now. I’m here to enjoy you and the rest of the family, let’s do that now.
    • What about foods you don’t like. You just don’t have to tell them, “That is the worst casserole…” Ask yourself: who was encouraged, who was uplifted? There’s no reason to hurt feelings that way.
    • Consider taking a portion for later. Stick it in the fridge. Then you can discreetly dispose of it later or give it to someone that loves it. There’s gracious ways around it.
    • You can always say thank you, it doesn’t mean you have to eat it.
  • What about food pushers, especially with food you can’t stand? You’ll have to listen to the show for the coconut cake story 😉
  • Recognize the intent of the person. If it’s out of love or bonding or caring, honor and respect the intent. If it’s disrespect/tearing you down, superiority, power/control, attack, or abuse then call a boundary by taking yourself out of the situation or stopping the conversation.
  • What if you can’t get out of a family or social event that you know will be miserable, but you can’t get out of it without a big battle?
    • Take things with to give you the opportunity to entertain yourself and keep your mind busy. Ideas include: handicrafts, puzzles, books, games (for one or more)…
    • Use your handicraft as a conversation opener like bring along extra knitting tools, scrapbooking elements, crafts that you can teach or share for fun. You might be surprised at how people will join you. But if not, you’re still enjoying yourself and being productive.
    • Have a quiet conversation with someone you do enjoy at the event.
    • Coloring books for kids (and now there’s adult coloring books).
    • Make Christmas cards, family albums, etc.
    • Interview the elderly family members for a record. Take pictures and create family memories.
    • When all else fails, take a book and get immersed in the pages.
  • Think about relationship building ideas to use while you’re there.
  • Answer courteously and respect the intent.
  • Who are your problem people? How might you be proactive and plan ahead of time for a better experience?
  • An appreciation moment to Jenn Davis who took time out of her day to share that she put The Debutante Queen on her Amazon wish list…and then for the super fun conversation she and I ended up having on Facebook when she asked me a few questions about the stories. Thanks for making my day, Jenn!
  • Thank you to Martha Artyomenko and Carrie Fancett Pagels for connecting me to a new friend so we could talk about my book.
  • A big thank you to Tristan and Forrest Leder who recorded The Debutante Queen. It released today on Audible. I’m excited for this whole Montana Beginnings series as each book releases and then also goes to audiobook.
  • Thank you to friends like Ava Pennington, Carla Breidenbach, and quite a few volunteers who helped me with a bit of behind-the-scenes needs this last week. No one ever is a one-woman show. I couldn’t do it without you, my friends.

Please let me know if any of these ideas helped you and do share your ideas with other listeners, too, at any of these places:

Tweet me at: @AngBreidenbach

What other ideas would you like shared here on Grace Under Pressure Radio?

Did you miss any of the past episodes?

Boundaries part 1 (shining from within)

Boundaries part 2 (be proactive)

Boundaries part 3 (take care of yourself first)