The notion of Reaction Vs. Response started rattling through my brain a few months ago. It came to me one day on a "thinking" drive (something I do quite often) and has presented a great and continued challenge. See, these two positions related to a particular experience are profoundly different, and I've found that I want to be marked by one over the other...most definitely!!!
Reaction is a position prompted by the lesser realities. Our "grid", our wound-driven assumptions...moved by and bound to the moment and the feelings that are prompted by the experience.
Response is a position prompted by the truest things. Our secure identity, the truths we hold most deeply...marked by the wisdom and values that emerge when we give some space to embrace a broader or fuller perspective.
Well, lately, I've been noticing another striking contrast between reaction and response. Reaction often breeds and is consumed by judgment. Response forms and fuels conviction. While appearing similar in their initiation...the passion, the dreaming, the action...judgment and conviction proceed and conclude in starkly different places. The first validates itself in the criticism of anything/anyone different...constant comparison to feed self...degradation of "different" to support self. The second needs no validation but instead uses constructive criticism to improve, to develop, to modify. The sad thing is that judgment...in its ever-shrinking world...only indicts self in the end. Conviction releases wide open spaces of grace...and respects conviction in others.
Here's an example...one that's going to get me in a TON of hot water instantly. But FIRST...in an effort to help with confusion...let me say that this distinction exists in ALL realms of the educational world. I just happen to notice it lately in the world of...drum roll...homeschoolers.
"Response" first...my profession puts me in contact with parents who have a conviction regarding homeschooling. In response to experiences or promptings in their relationship to God, they have chosen to embrace intentional home education. They have no sense of "us vs. them"...just a call to invest in their children a bit differently. They aren't validating themselves in the process, and there isn't a sense of personal failure if the process needs to be modified for unique circumstances. They are open to their convictions changing if necessary, and we can be quite collaborative in our investments.
"Reaction" second...my profession also puts me in contact with parents who have a judgment-driven commitment to homeschooling. In reaction to experiences, they have chosen to homeschool to prove something to someone or themselves or be "better" than someone in some way. Definite "us vs. them", combative mentality. Always promoting. Always back-patting. Knowingly and unknowingly putting others down who do things differently. When it comes to a need for change though (i.e. a child who needs a different approach), they treat themselves as failures and grieve the change unnecessarily. Collaboration??...oh, heck no. They know how to do it "right".
It's in public vs. private, faith-based vs. private, and on and on and on...and it can be so irritating.
Crazy-interesting example though.
I'll be a "response" girl.