14 October, 2009

Does the Reason Matter?

Does the reason matter? 

I have been asking myself this question often over the past few days.  If the result is positive, does the reason behind the action matter?

Now if that isn’t beyond abstract and vague…

Let me clarify a little. 

Dave and Dawn have 5 kids under the age of 8.  It would make sense, to me at least, that they don’t travel much.  But this is not the case.  They drove 10 plus hours (one way) for a little vacation twice last year.  Thus, traveling with all those kids is not a challenge for them.  They recently drove a few hours to see Dawn’s grandfather who was recently released from the hospital.  Yet, they do not drive the 4 or 7 hours to see Dave’s family. 

This year Dave and Dawn decided that they would stay at their house for Christmas and the following vacation.  Having just moved, they wanted to be at home.  Then, out of the blue, they discover that friends of theirs (who reside in the same city as Dave’s grandparents) are moving abroad and those friends would like to see Dave and Dawn before they leave. 

So, what does Dave decide to do…? 

They are now going to drive the 7 hours to go and see their friends before they leave the states.  Oh, and they will see Dawn’s sister and have a quick breakfast with Dave’s grandparents since they will be in town. 

The results are positive… Dave’s grandparents (in their late 80’s) will get to see their grandsons for the first time in 2 years, and Dave’s mom will have this wonderful family reunion as her kids will all be together for that breakfast. 

The result is positive – so does the reason matter?  Does the reason behind the trip make a difference?

I heard this story from my mom who is tickled pink because, as you might have guessed, Dave is my brother.  We will change our plans so that we can all be together for that breakfast.  Which is fine and great and I am thrilled that this will mean so much to my family.  Positive outcome. 

My mom is also thrilled that my brother and his crew will be joining us at her house a day or two later.  There will be 11 of us in their house.  11 of us in my childhood home which was just perfect for 4 or even 5 – but 11?  While talking to my mom I focused on this point – 11 people in a small house with snow outside… there goes my vacation!  Can I get a flight out of Phoenix to the Islands or something as that might be a bit more relaxing. 

We laughed and joked while inside I was seriously questioning my brother and his motivations.  He will drive 7 hours to see friends but will not do it for family.

While relating this story to a friend who has two brothers and a sister, she simply responded that it is a guy thing.  She went on to say that she hears about it with her friends and can see it with her brothers.  The wife takes care of her family – it is the wives’ family that they visit.  She and her husband make an effort to visit both families but in her opinion, the wife will make it a priority to visit hers leaving her husband’s to be visited should time and opportunity allow. 


My sister-in-law doesn’t exactly travel to see her family much either (her sister lives in the same city as my grandparents).  Neither one of them seems to put much effort into seeing family or associating with family, but when they do, it is usually her family. 

But if this is the case – the wife being the more family based of the marriage in many situations – what happens when the children of the marriage are all boys?  What is my brother teaching his boys?  Is he teaching them that family is less important than friends?  Is he teaching them to allow their future wife’s to call the shots?

“You would never get away with that,” my friend informs me.  And she is right.  I wouldn’t – the difference is that I would never think of doing what my brother does or has done.  I make it a priority for my daughter to know my family just as I would make it a priority for her to know her dad’s.

All this aside, my mom is focusing on the fact that we will have a family breakfast; the reason for this occurring is of little importance.  In the end, that is the way to see the situation, but I still wonder if, at some point, the reason behind things does matter?  My brother visiting family is the result of his going to visit friends… and hey, family happens to live there too.  Does his motivation/reason for being there make a difference?





Mark said...

This is a good question! I would say in this instance the answer is no your brothers apparent motivation should not diminish the outcome. Who knows, maybe he really wanted to see his family and this was the catalyst for making this happen. All things happen for a reason and we simply need to say thanks and not analyze each thing that happens.
I do believe intent is very important. The reality is that only the person, this time being your brother really knows the intent which is on his heart.

TAG said...

It's not a guy thing. Some people value family more than others. Those who do not take advantage of opportunities to visit (or make opportunities) often regret those decisions.

As you wisely wonder, what message is sent to the children? Your brother could one day wake up to find he is living the old Harry Chapin Song, Cats in the Cradle.

As for your mom and her being content just having things happen, I think she is right to do that.

Sure, she could fume about why the don't visit more often. But that would not encourage them to visit more. She is right to enjoy what is, rather than wish for what is not.

Just my 2 cents worth.