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Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Wall of Futility



"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."
— M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled.
I think this is another way of explaining Gordon Neufeld's idea of the wall of futility in his book Hold on to Your Kids. He says,

"The key to adaptation is for futility to sink in whenever we are up
against something that won't work and we can't change. When the
adaptive process is unfolding as it should, the lessons are learned
spontaneously....The adaptive process accomplishes its task of "disciplining"
our children in a number of natural ways; by bringing to an end a course of
action that does not work, by enabling the child to accept limitations and
restrictions,. by facilitating the letting -go of futile demands.Only through
such adaptations can a child adjust to circumstances that cannot be changed.
Through this process a child also discovers that she can live with unfulfilled
desires. Adaptation enables the child to recover from trauma and transcend
loss. These lessons cannot be taught directly either through reason or
through consequences. They are truly teachings of the heart, learned only as
futility sinks in.
The parent needs to be both the agent of futility and the angel of comfort. It is human counterpoint at its finest and most challenging. To facilitate adaptation,
a parent must dance the child to his tears, to letting go, and to the sense of
rest that comes in the wake of letting go."

Clearly this process applies to adults as well. Sometimes we have to adapt to a lack of others' ability to adapt. "Letting go of what does not work, we are more likely to stumble upon what does." In the eternal perspective, helping a child reach the wall of futility can prime him for Trustful Surrender. The more we desire control over every aspect of our lives, the harder it is to let tears of futility sink in, resting in Christ and allowing him to fill the gaps.

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