Hopefully, your Thanksgiving time spent with family and friends was more refreshing than usual. Or maybe people that you care about have been inconvenienced or ravaged by health surprises, the economy, or the consequences of unfortunate choices. Our family and friends had people in both camps.

In anticipation of who I would spend thanksgiving with, I recently reviewed some of Dr. Jordan Peterson’s writings. I often sample authors that many people find controversial. I serve and respect people of several different persuasions. Broadening my knowledge of different perspectives helps me serve them better.

Dr. Jordan Peterson

Dr. Jordan Peterson often expresses his opinions provocatively. He confronts what he perceives as hypocrisy, bullying, or faulty logic. Some people love his forceful style. Others hate it.

He is smart and well-read. He quotes many psychologists, but also literary authors, philosophers, and what many regard as sacred texts. He does not seem to be a man of faith but thinks that living like one would be beneficial.

Peterson is a clinical psychologist. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto. While he was teaching at that university, he also maintained a clinical practice.

In his practice, he deals with people who battle horrendous issues. Several of his patients died before they finished treatment. He encounters extremes that most of us are naive about and dreadful realities we can’t imagine and will probably never experience.

Ideas to Live By

The ideas that caught my attention were about facing challenges, confronting evil, and being courageous when you or people you care about are in pain or grief. Unfairness and unexplained tragedy happen. Courage and performance are among the best ways to survive, flourish, serve, and protect yourself or those you care about.

Peterson knows that evil exists, whether we like it or not. Some people flee or avoid conflict. Some people are intimidated by evil. Timidity and denial are understandable, but they endanger those we care about. Appeasing or ignoring evil is a poor policy.

I agree with his notion about admitting and confronting grief and evil. Navy SEALs are taught to punch sharks in the nose. It hurts both the SEAL and the shark, but the shark usually leaves.

Jordan Peterson urges adults to live responsibly. A responsible adult will warn people about real danger and will act in ways to protect the people he or she cares about. Warning about evil does not increase evil, it heightens awareness. It may not be politically correct to discuss unpleasant truths, but it is prudent to deal with the world in its imperfections.

Recently two men I routinely pray for shared stories of deep pain, significant disappointments, and rough transitions. Both have made dramatic, unconventional adjustments in trying to fulfill their responsibilities. I risked asking important questions, listened deeply, and acknowledged what I heard.

Many of us think and reflect as we talk. We tell stories to explain our life to others and ourselves. Friends, family, therapists, and coaches often ask important and or deep questions about the stories. Often valuable awareness comes from those talks. My two conversations had discomfort, conflict, and regret, but in both cases the men I heard seemed to benefit and I learned how to pray better for them and those they care about.

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When life is unfair, how do you serve or assist those you care about, who suffer, regardless of the cause?

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Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.

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