“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” –
Martin Luther King, Jr., activist
“… I was accused of being a pedophile!”
Urban was a 50 year old divorced man with two adult children, who still resided in the small town where he and his ex-wife raised them, in northern France. But now, he was deeply involved with Ursula, a local small business woman his age with two teenagers, Ugo aged 15 and Uliana, aged 17.
Urban was a stout man with a beer belly and jovial, friendly manner. He struggled in his self care, displaying more interest in the sports channels than in his grooming. He fit a stereotypical image of a hockey addicted Canadian male whose focus centred around the NHL and its members. He worked as an electrician for a small construction company.
Urban had spent the last three years of his life creating a place for himself in Ursula’s family. She was initially skeptical of his devotion in light of her experiences with her ex-spouse, who continued to be a source of friction for her.
Urban was especially close to her son, Ugo, who he said, needed a father figure in his life. With his step daughter, Uliana, he said it was harder, because she was striving to be independent and so had a high value on her freedom.
After I had collected this context of his life, I asked Urban how I could serve him.
“Ken, I was accused of being a pedophile!”
“… I need to figure out the benefits to being accused of being a pedophile!”
“What happened, Urban?”
Urban told me in great detail about the events leading up to him being reported to the local child protection agency. In brief, he discovered Uliana was planning to post some nude selfies online and he challenged her on it. She got mad and told her closest friend what had happened. Her friend reported him to the authorities without Uliana knowing. When it was investigated by the child protection staff, the situation was cleared up. And, Uliana apologized to Urban for what her friend had done.
After he had told me all this, I said,
“It sounds like it worked out OK, Urban. Yet, you are obviously still upset with what happened. How come?”
“Ken, I’ve spent the last three years of my life working to be part of them, to be thought of as one of them, to be part of Ursula’s family. It has cost me in time, energy…even when and where, I work. And, then this happens…I don’t deserve this…this shouldn’t have happened to me!” he said, the hurt and dismay still clearly evident on his face.
Then he added,
“A friend of mine said you could help anyone figure out the benefits of anything bad that ever happened to them…that’s why I’m here. I need to figure out the benefits to being accused of being a pedophile!”
“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
– Og Mandino, author
“They are the filters you use to make every decision.”
“Yes, I can show you how to do that, Urban. But, it will require you to be willing to learn some new perspectives on old events. Would that be OK with you?”
“Ken, I’m a Toronto Maple Leaf fan, so I’m always looking for new perspectives on why they didn’t win the Stanley Cup again this year!” he said, smiling.
“OK, let’s get started first by identifying your highest values!”
I asked Urban to complete the Demartini Values Determination Process and we printed off his results. It showed clearly his four highest personal values were: his family, his work, his sports hobbies and his health.
“Now that we know your four top values, let me explain their role in your life.”
“OK! But, before you continue…it is interesting to me that sports is as high as it is and also my work…I never realized how much I like my job, either.” he replied.
“Useful information to have, Urban. Your values are what you have decided are the most important things in your life, because of your past experiences. They are the filters you use to make every decision.”
“So, that explains why I spend most Saturday nights watching the hockey game, eh?”
“… you can be doing it consciously, instead of unconsciously.”
“You got it! These values are your learning tools. They help you move though life in an effective way to ensure your well being.”
“Do you mean, I use them to make the best decisions for me?”
“Exactly, Urban! Only difference from here on in is, you can be doing it consciously, instead of unconsciously. Does that make sense?”
“That sounds like a smart thing to do, is it not?”
“It will certainly help you better understand you and your life!” I replied.
“OK! So, how does knowing my values help me with my current situation?” Urban asked, getting ahead of me a bit.
“There is one other thing you need to know, to make sense of what has just happened to you, Urban.”
“There is a law of nature, found in virtually every science we study, called symmetry, synchronicity, equilibrium, homeostasis, duality or just simply, balance.”
“Why is this law so important for me to notice, Ken?” he asked, genuinely curious.
“…because my top value is family, the team is like a family to me…”
“Because it will help you understand your life, from your devotion to the Toronto Maple Leafs to being accused of being a pedophile.”
“Do you mean they are somehow related to each other?”
“They are both part of your history, are they not?”
“Yes, I guess so, but I don’t see any balance in them at all!” he said, his confusion setting in.
“Urban, what is in it for you, what is the biggest benefit to your devotion to a hockey team which has such a poor record of winning the Stanley Cup?”
“Ken, I’ve followed that team for years. I know every play’s history and statistics. I rarely miss one of their games. Those guys are like my siblings, like my kids in a way!” he said, surprising even himself with the strength of his affection for the team.
“Urban, I understand what you’re saying. They are like family to you, are they not?”
“Yeah! In a way, they are! I see where you’re going now with this, Ken. Your saying because my top value is family, the team is like a family to me, right?”
“You have to believe in yourself, challenge yourself, and push yourself until the very end; that’s the only way you’ll succeed.” – G-Dragon, musician
“… that same balance law applies to being suspected of being a pedophile!”
“So, you’re just honouring your top value by your appreciation for them as a hockey club. But, that devotion has to follow the balance law…which mean there will be as much pleasure as pain in it, Urban. So, where is the two sides, the duality, the 50/50?”
“Well, the pleasure for me is watching how hard they work to win. And, they never give up on each other or for going for the Cup. And, the pain is they get so close sometimes, and then, they lose their opportunity in the playoffs.”
“Since you persist in following them, year after year, that indicates, within your values, it is a fair trade, a 50/50 of pleasure and pain.
“Looking back that would be true because I don’t regret being their fan. I get teased about it at times, but I wouldn’t change it either. I’m not thinking of shifting to another team or anything like that.” he said, affirming his loyalty and values.
“Urban, that same balance law applies to being suspected of being a pedophile! It also has counterbalancing pleasure or benefits that came to you when it occurred. Let’s find them right now!”
“…how I was going to fight this and clear myself…”
“Close your eyes for a few moments and go to the very second when you first learned you were being accused. Where were you at that second! Who was there with you?
Freeze that second in your memory so we can uncover its duality, its balance!”
“Ken, I was at home by myself. Ursula was at work, the kids at school, and I had the day off. I was at the sink, cleaning up the breakfast dishes when I got the call from the child protection people.”
“What happened at that second, Urban?”
“The lady on the phone identified herself and said she wanted to set up an appointment today to meet with me in her office. When I asked her why, she told me there had been a complaint about me and that a child in our family may need protection.” he said, his face going pale as he spoke.
“At that second, how did you respond to her and what went on in your mind, Urban?”
He paused for a few moments, deep in thought, bringing back the details stored in his synaptic memory system. Then he said,
“Of course I agreed to meet her in her office at 2 PM. But, my mind was at how unfair it was after all the work I had put into building a life with Ursula and her children, my family…how I was going to fight this and clear myself of this terrible accusation against people I had grown to love.”
“… I was valuing not just my family in a new way, but also myself…”
“So, rather than perhaps, giving up or running away, you chose to fight for yourself.”
“Yes, I did! My first wife accused me of giving up on being a father when I left France to come here to build a future for myself…it is kind of a sore spot with me.”
“So, you empowered yourself at that second. That sounds like an important benefit. By doing that, how else did it benefit you at that same second, Urban?”
“Well, I was going to protect my family from this false accusation and protect their reputation in our community, as well.” he added, with a determined air.
“Excellent insight! What else?”
“Well…I felt so upset and yet determined I was going to deal with this head on. I wasn’t going to back down…I guess.. I was valuing not just my family in a new way, but also myself and all that I had worked for to become part of Ursula’s life.”
“What else, Urban?”
“I felt so strong at that second…so powerful…it was like my value for my family went up about ten notches in my head…it was invigorating for me. And, looking back now, I can see how we all came closer together as a family, it cemented us together in a new way.”
“I would enjoy sitting in a rocker… listening to soft music and contemplating the things of the universe. But such activity offers no challenge and makes no contribution.”
– Gordon B. Hinckley, clergyman
“… genuinely see the duality to that second, then you won’t want to change it…”
“Urban, when we find the other side of the event, the pleasure in the pain or the pain in the pleasure, and it is perfectly balanced within our values, that’s when we are certain it was not a mistake. It was a 50/50 event that followed perfectly the natural law of balance. So, then there is no regret…only appreciation! But, only you can determine that.”
“You mean if the benefits equal the pain to me within my values, I will feel and be OK with it…I’ll have no regrets about what happened…?” he asked, checking his understanding.
“That right! If you can genuinely see the duality to that second, then you won’t want to change it in any way. You will only experience appreciation for it and everyone involved in it…including, the person who made the complaint against you.”
“I wouldn’t have thought that was possible, Ken. But, that’s just where I’m at now. I can see how Uliana’s friend was trying to protect her.”
Then he added,
“And, our family has gotten much closer in ways I never would have thought possible. So, I don’t want to change it! I do appreciate it! And…I can see both sides. Thank you, Ken!”
“Urban, thank nature’s balanced perfection!” I offered.
“Yes, that’s it, isn’t it?” he said smiling.
“The challenges of family provide the cement for their future.”
– King Ayles, writer