Sunday, February 03, 2008



Now, if I were the writer of the rules I would choose to put them all in the positive, rather than the negative, terminology, but alas, I am not, so "no rescues" it is.

A rescue is defined as doing ANYTHING that by so doing, will build resentment.


* Your husband suddenly needs to switch cars with you. You get his car, only to discover it's on empty. You don't have anywhere you really need to go, but you go fill it up with gas so he won't run out when you give it back to him.

If you do this lovingly, generously and because you want to surprise your husband? Great! But if you do it because he's an idiot and if it weren't for you he'd never be able to find his way out of a paper bag, and he's a thoughtless louse, etc., etc., etc., and this is just one more example of his thoughtlessness.... Then you are "rescuing" him and not truly gifting him. You'll be pissed, and that's not a gift, that's a power play.

For those of us that find the urge to rescue our children particularly hard to resist, my Sweet Kathleen has the perfect solution. She has three teenage daughters, and for as long as I've known her she gives each girl two rescues a school year. When they call about the forgotten lunch, PE clothes, notes, science project, etc., she asks, "Would you like to use one of your rescues?" and they have to determine the level of importance of their request. They know that two is all they get, period, no re-negotiating for a third. It's been highly effective for her.

So, there you go! The Rules of Cooperation! In summary:


1. No scarcity

2. Equal rights

3. No power plays

4. No secrets
a. 100%
b. Negative feelings (anger & fear)
c. Positive feelings (strokes)

5. No rescues


Suzy said...

All great rules.

#5 is tough, but I'm getting better at it...

Love you.


kario said...

I am so stealing Kathleen's idea to use with my kids, my hubby, my mother...

D'ya suppose it'll work on my dog? Nah, probably not. Okay, I'll rescue him. At least he is always grateful and I know he'd do the same for me....

Deb said...

I am so impressed that you did all of this with the weekend you just had!

Kari, Toby said he'd be happy to use Kathleen's system, but he doesn't count very well and he got distracted by one of the cats and used up both of his rescues before we were done talking. Oh, well.

Carrie, I love your new look! Big and bright and beautiful.

Drama Mama said...


I am alternately terrified and thrilled by all of this.

And I love the "Lifeline" approach taken by your friend.

Alot to digest, but man, am I intrigued!

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

I spent this week rescuing all who asked in anticipation of going to work full time next week and making the rescuing business into a very part-time endeavor.

La La said...

I like the two rescues idea. That's cool because it lets the girls know they have to take care of business, but if they really need it, there is help available.

Thanks for the wisdom of these five posts.


deb said...

I like your friend Kathleen's solution. Only two rescues a year. Excellent idea.

shauna said...

I still rescue. And when I feel like it's good for me not to, I feel guilty about that. Sounds like something I need to work on...