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Relationship advice from my daughter

May 18, 2012


Terri Patrick
Terri Patrick’s blog

The challenge of having four amazing daughters is that I’ve given a lot of advice over the years, some better than others. Any advice stems from who I am at that moment, and the conversation in process. Here’s a message from my daughter Katelyn:

“One thing you told me about relationships that I’ve shared with others is this, “Every relationship is either a lesson or a purpose, there are many lessons, but only one purpose.” Maybe your next article can have that.”🙂

I have no idea what we were discussing, or when I tossed out this advice. I’m intimidated that my words are being repeated as – profound. I’d like to take the easy way out and state the purpose always relates to love, connection, and our growth as a person. That’s a good answer. It’s generic and it’s also true for lessons.

But my daughter asked, so: PURPOSE – to intend, resolve or plan. LESSON – something to be learned

I assume I meant that the single purpose of a relationship relates to the spiritual intention of being connected to that person. This purpose is framed by the specifics of the relationship; whether it is family, professional, or personal. Except, any relationship is always a dual purpose because there is a requirement of “two” for a relationship.

In fiction, the character purpose is defined by the role they play within the story in relation to the hero; mentor, villain, sidekick, victim, spiritual ideal, lover, jester, etc. A life story exists on a grander scale. It’s a saga of unwieldy proportion and we can all play these roles for others during the span of our human experience. But again in fiction, there is always an inciting incident and a goal, and the characters will either succeed or fail in their purpose because of the relationship.

Fiction mirrors life except there’s really only one story in process within a specific time frame of the movie or novel. So here’s my example of a single purpose, personal, life relationship:

A grade school friend, called Bobbi, fulfilled her purpose in my life to inspire my sense of adventure and love of creating stories. Our relationship lasted from age 9 to 14. Because of her – I played softball, helped out at a kennel and at dog shows, rode horses. All these experiences included many lessons. She was also my cycling buddy. We rode many miles daily, during the summer. On a bike hike through a park, we came across an old burnt mansion and that day we imagined a ghost story together. I wrote it up but she had lost interest in it. That began my pounding the keyboards phase, it was a manual typewriter. I have no idea what purpose I fulfilled in her life other than temporary sidekick. However, I still love cycling and will always treat dogs as one of my family and make sure they have good manners.

An example of a single family purpose is easier because there are labels for the unique family relationships: sibling, parent, spouse, child, and with that purpose there is the opportunity for playing many roles through each other’s lives and initiating numerous lessons. I’ve played many roles in my daughters’ lives, from mentor to villain, from friend to jester.

Professional relationships can also have as broad a purpose as business partner, or as specific as mentor, or as fleeting as classmate. I truly believe every relationship we nourish is because there is intention on our part, to do something specific together for our life journey. Everything else is dynamic roles and a variety of lessons to achieve our well being.

Everyone has a purpose and whether we meet our goals or fail is based entirely on our point of view.

  
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terri patrick May 18, 2012

Update note:
When I saw this article reposted here Oregon Women’s Report I realized I forgot to mention; Katelyn as daughter #3 was the one who brought dogs and horses into my life again. Terri

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