A Christmas Wish

My sister is a woman now beginning her thirties. She has had few friends and her boyfriends have never been good for her. Now she has finally found a man who adores her.

They had an affair nine years back, when he was twice her age and still married. My sister ended the affair, and he separated from his wife. When my sister contacted him this spring, he finalized the divorce and they became a couple. His marriage, which was arranged by his church, was never happy.

His parents and his children are upset he divorced. His children don't want to meet his new girlfriend, and he hasn't dared to tell his parents about her. The other issue is children. She wants; he doesn't. I tell my sister they both know each other's stand on this and neither has the right to impose on the other, but neither of them wants to leave.

My whole family visited them on my sister's last birthday. It felt so nice to see them together and to see my sister get love and warmth at last. But to know at some point they will have a crash landing feels awful. She has a man who loves her, but he is entangled in a constricting family and church. Besides, there is a conflict of dreams between them.

What should I say to my sister? We try to get an equal relationship, but we are in such different circumstances. I am married with two children, a professional with friends and all things that she wants. I cannot possibly tell her, after seeing their cozy home and how they care for each other, that this is another no-go.

Who am I to know? Maybe he will come around, or maybe she will think he is more important than fulfilling her dream of children. Maybe I should just keep my "superior knowledge" to myself.


Noel, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is one of our favorite stories, but this tale is so familiar most of us forget the moral. Even in our old age it is not too late to change. Even in our old age it is not too late to live the life which is our birthright. But we must want to change and then follow through.

In Dickens' tale Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old business partner Jacob Marley. Marley warns Scrooge where the patterns of his life are taking him, and even though Marley wants Scrooge to change, he is powerless to make him change. Scrooge must go through a journey of discovery before he is ready.

You would like to play Jacob Marley for your sister, but even Marley couldn't change Scrooge. Three spirits had to show Scrooge his past, his present, and if he did not change, his dismal future. Until Scrooge made this journey he was not ready.

That is the wisdom of the story. We must examine the past for its lessons, search the present for its patterns, and project where those patterns will lead us in the future. If those patterns lead to sadness, they must be altered to lead us to fulfillment. As Scrooge says, "Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead. But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change."

Whether our life is a sad life, an abused life, or simply a flat life, we can use this simple story as a guide to breaking the patterns which lead to bad ends. You may possess the life you wish for your sister, but you do not have the power to give it to her. She will not change until she is ready. Keep your superior knowledge to yourself. If you wish to do something, give your sister a copy of "A Christmas Carol" and make a silent wish for her happiness.

Direct Answers - Column for the week of December 22, 2003

About The Author

Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.

Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.

More Resources

Unable to open RSS Feed $XMLfilename with error HTTP ERROR: 404, exiting

More Coaching Information:

Related Articles

Finding Peace: A Taste of Mindfulness
When we are ill and don't know it, we are in a state of ignorance or delusion. We don't view ourselves as sick, so we don't believe it's necessary to go to a doctor or take any medication.
Successful Implementation of Company Wide Coaching Programmes
Ten years ago I was fortunate enough to be heavily involved in the implementation of a company wide coaching programme, both as an employee who was to receive coaching but also as a manager and coach who was expected to regular coach my reports and my peers to enable them to achieve their objectives. I say, fortunate enough, because I found that when I was coached effectively I became really motivated and focused, and when I finally became a proficient coach, I again found it motivational in that I was able to support and enable my direct reports to achieve more.
A Beginner To Beginners
You may be just starting, or contemplating, your first online business. Or, just like me, you may be trying out yet another online business scheme.
Building a Strong Coaching Practice
As a person who has been around the coaching profession for a number of years, I wish I could say that my practice is full right now. But the fact is that I've been pursuing TV gigs in the last few years and haven't put much emphasis on building my individual coaching practice.
How Empathy Can Reduce Your Anger
Jim, a 42-year old engineer was teaching his eight-year-old son how to fly a radio-controlled airplane. As the airplane was taking off, Jim instructed his son to push the control stick on the radio to the right.
Coaching Skills and Positive Motivation
There is one important point that is often missed in the discussion of Coaching Skills: Effective coaching is a great deal more than just problem solving. Many people misinterpret coaching as only a corrective process aimed at specific error and deficiencies of an individual.
So Why Are They Really Here?
It does make you wonder sometimes, doesn't it? You know the folks I'm talking about. The ones who seem to be wandering around in the middle of a fog bank.
Essence of Awakeness
Be conscious, aware, and alert. Pay attention.
Trump University - Why Success Education Is Important
Trump University recently unveiled offers a bonanza of success secrets, success tips and success insights.Donald Trump, of the Apprentice says "The one sure way to success is to know everything you can about what you do", these words capture the true reason why Trump University exists.
5 Tips to Improve ANY Performance
Seeking improved performance at work? Wishing you could finally achieve your sports-related goals? Merely looking for a way to get more out of everything you do? What follows are five basic skills (basic in that all top achievers know these skills and apply them in some form on a weekly basis) that will dramatically improve your performance.1.
What is Life Coaching?
An recent article in Money Magazine said that "A coach may be the guardian angel you need to rev up your career." In fact, if you pick up any major newspaper or magazine, you are bound to come across a glowing article on coaching.
Going Beyond Life Coaching
In Corrogue the air is chill and the frost is on the ground.On these autumn mornings the spider's webs are glistening like each was arrayed with diamonds.
Tame The Financial Beast
Are holiday bills surprising you? Are you hoping that if you ignore your finances long enough, maybe they will fix themselves?Let's liken our finances to a garden. If we neglect the garden, weeds will grow and take over.
Its Game Time! Four Powerful Lessons in the Game of Life
I turned 29 last week, and if statistics are right and I die on or around my 78th birthday, I am almost 40% done. In a numbers game, that is pretty close to half way.
Guilt: Is it Getting in the Way of Your Self-Care?
When Do We Usually Feel Guilty? When:We're not feeling ok about who we are.We're not feeling ok about the choices we're making.
Do You Ever Give Up Coaching Employees?
In principle, we don't want to give up coaching employees. We want to believe that we can eventually make a difference.
That Little Bit Of Extra
The "little bit extra" is a very powerful concept to put into practice today in every aspect of your life. The difference between being ordinary and being extraordinary is that little bit EXTRA.
Coaching Skills
IntroductionThe question for leaders in organizations today is how do we go about unleashing motivation, facilitating idea creation, promoting information flow and go beyond being Number One? How do we distance ourselves from our competitors? We cannot relax and take our success for granted. Our competitors are fierce and anxious to take back market share, produce the next blockbuster product, or invent some new technology to better serve customers.
Online Counseling - a Timely Happenstance
Online counseling may be the latest and greatest improvement intherapy. It seems to be perfect for this fast-paced world withmany workers who sit by their computer screens all day long.
Unleash Your True Potential
Some time ago I attended a birthday party and met a young guy who just happened to be 30. I say young because when you're 47, that is a young age!He told me about his career in a major corporate company where he's been working for the past 3 years.