In our efforts to get what we want in marriage and family life, there is one powerful lesson of transcendent importance: we must preserve and enhance the assets and resources that enable us to be productive.
(Stephen Covey) He calls these two goals “P” and “PC”.
“P” stands for the production of desired results,
“PC” stands for production capability, which means the preservation and enhancement of the results- producing assets or resources.
For example, if a parent has neglected PC work with a teenage son, the trust level will be low, making communication closed and mechanical. The son simply will not be open to the fathers counsel on matters where experience and wisdom are needed. The father may have much wisdom and desire to counsel his son, but the son will not be open to it because of the low trust. The P work, the production of desired results, will now suffer terribly, because the PC work has not been done. And the son may end up making decisions on a short-range emotional perspective, resulting in many negative long-range consequences.
When PC work has been ignored, a parent may need to ‘go the extra mile’ to recover a relationship. There are many other ways of going the second mile, of making emotional deposits. What may be a deposit to one person may be a withdrawal for another. “One mans meat, is another mans poison.” When we live the primary laws of love(PC activity) we encourage obedience to the primary laws of life (P results). There is no short cut.
In developing marriage or family relationships, short cut techniques, artificial rewards, psych-up strategies, and duplicitous, hypocritical living may hide character flaws temporarily, but those flaws will be exposed in the next storm of life. Marriage is a courtship requiring continual deposits in the form of gentleness, kindness, consideration, small courtesies, pleasant words and unconditional love.
Any time we neglect PC in the name of P, we may temporarily get a little more P, but eventually it will decline. If we use manipulative and intimidating techniques, we may get what we want in the short run, but eventually the trust level and communication processes deteriorate. Instead of rich understanding, where a couple can communicate almost without words, even make mistakes and still be understood, the situation becomes one of mere accommodation, wherein they simply attempt to live independent lifestyles in a fairly respectful and tolerant way. It may further deteriorate to one of hostility and defensiveness, where a person is made an”offender for a word” and its simply too risky to think out loud. Theses marriages may end up in open warfare in the courts or in a cold war at home, sustained only by children, sex, social pressures, or image projection.
In a sense, selfishness, a root cause of marital discord and divorce, is a symptom for heavy focus on P, or what we want – the results we desire. For instance, a husband who is selfish and inconsiderate for a period of time, cajoles and manipulates and intimidates to get what he wants, but eventually, because of lack of PC, the relationship deteriorates.
The same is true with parents in relation to their children. If parents focus on what they want and threaten and intimidate, yell and scream, wield the carrot and the stick, or go the other way and indulge the kids or simply leave them alone, relationships will deteriorate; discipline will be non-existent; vision, standards, and expectations will be unclear, ambiguous and confused.
When the children are young and susceptible to threats and manipulation, parents often get what they want in spite of their methods. But by the time the child becomes a teenager, a parents threats no longer have the same immediate force to bring about desired results. Unless there is a high trust level and a lot of mutual respect, they have virtually no control over their children. There is simply no reserve funds in the emotional bank account. A lack of PC work done in the formative years leads to an overdrawn emotional bank account in the teen years, a breakdown of relationship, and a lack of influence.
Emotional bank accounts are very fragile, yet very resilient at the same time. If we have a large emotional bank account, say $200,000 of emotional reserve with others, we can make small withdrawals of $5,000 – $10,000 from time to time, and they will understand and accommodate us. For instance, we may need to make a very unpopular, authoritarian decision because of certain time pressures without involving others or explaining it to them. If we have a $200,000 bank account and make a $10,000 withdrawal in this manner, we would still have $190,000 left. Perhaps the next day we would take the time to explain what we did and why we did it, thus redepositing the $10,000.
A PC orientation flows directly out of the character and integrity and sincerity of a person, rather than as a manipulative tactic only to get P. If we are insincere and use PC as a manipulative technology, it undoubtedly will be revealed for what it is, the net effect, being a huge emotional withdrawal. But if we make small, sincere deposits consistently over time, we build a huge reserve. We can make these small deposits in the form of patience, courtesies, empathy, kindness, services, sacrifices, honesty, and sincere apologies for past mistakes, overreactions, ego trips and other forms of withdrawal.
FROM: CHAPTER 12 – Enriching marriage and family relationships.
BY: STEPHEN R. COVEY – Principle centered leadership