Monday, April 09, 2007

Power and Motive

If there are two things that individuals bring into relationships that make a huge difference they are power and motive.

Relational power is how much one person can use their force or finesse to effect change.

Relational motive is how selfish/selfless a person is.

A powerful person who is selfish is also dangerous, but a powerful person with good motives is generative and makes good happen. A selfless person without any power might have good intentions, but really can't do anything with those intentions.

Now, take these combinations within a person and figure the interactions between two people. One person's power and motive interacting with the other's power and motive.

The greater the power differential between two people, the more necessary it is for the more powerful person to be selfless. Without intentional effort, the more powerful person will harm the less powerful person.

Relationships between parents and teens are necessarily very different in power. It is incumbent on the more powerful person (the parent) to become more selfless. Don't be tempted to be fair in relationships that differen in power. There is no fair. Striving to be fair is a fool's game.

Increase the motive toward goodness. Goodness (selflessness) is better than fairness - always.

Power should always be (and will always be) the tool for motive. Be good and let your power serve goodness.


Anonymous said...

With regard to step parenting, what gives a person more power? Custody?, Being Right? Better Lawyer?
We strive to be good, "win her with kindness" It doesn't ever work.

Fajita said...

Anon, I think you bring the everyday experience front and center here. It is so hard to be in a co-parenting relationship with a former spouse and be the only one being good. It's terribly unfair.

At the same time, you are not to change that person. You can't. Being good is not a tool to change anyone. Instead, it is decision about who you are.

Power, in this situation, is not being changed by people who are not good to you. Power to be yourself instead of reactiing to other's badness and therefore being controlled by them.

Keep up being good, but do not measure its success by the amount of change in your former spouse.

Anonymous said...

You are so right. This is a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same. And yes, it is terribly unfair. It is so difficult to remain good faced with daily injustices. We just hope that in the end the good will prevail.