The power of caring persistence

This weekend I observed two incidents that inspired me deeply. Saturday afternoon my son-in-law was trying to get the attention of his 18 month old niece, our fourth grandchild. She hadn't seen him for awhile and she would not have anything to do with him though she was curious about him. He kept trying to get her attention in many different and humorous ways. She would only glance at him and then turn her head to the other way with a slight smile on her face which said "if you want to relate with me, you better work at it." He did just this and kept working at it. By the end of the evening she walked over to him and handed him something with a smile on her face. His persistent caring had results. I was very inspired in watching this two hour exchange of effort.

Earlier in the day, our other daughter and son-in-law had come over to our home for a visit. It was a busy morning for us as we had been to observe our grandson's swim class and our granddaughter's dance class. In their ongoing efforts to make sure Grandma and Grandpa live a long life they lovingly insisted on moving our seldom used treadmill up from the basement to the family room. This was also accompanied by a written treatise on nutrition for us. Not wanting to burden them, we of course protested. Needless to say we now have a treadmill in our family room and healthy food in our cupboards. Their effort of caring persistence has achieved results.

The power of caring persistence can make the world a better place. Caring persistence means to make the effort of doing loving things for other people even when no one asks or demands that loving things happen. Change happens when someone decides to lovingly change the milieu or environment even when there is resistance. My granddaughter showed resistance to her uncle but he didn't give up. My wife and I showed resistance to our daughter and son-in-law and they didn't give up. We are grateful that they persisted.

People who persistently care about other people through actions and words create a power in the world that can overcome negativity and resistance. I recently heard a young woman talk about the difference between judges and healers in life. People who judge other people often act with a self-righteousness that they think puts them above other people. Judgmental people want to condemn other people and find a reason and motive for everything. Healers are people who want to find solutions for problems in a caring and loving manner without being concerned about attributing condemnations and judgments to other people. Our son-in-law wasn't condemning his niece. Our daughter and son-in-law were not condemning my wife and myself. All were seeking solutions by bringing positive care to the situation. This positive care expressed itself in positive actions. As a result a little child reconnected with her uncle and two grandparents became even more serious about improving their health.

We remember people who persistently care about us in their kind actions and words. We desire to be with them more. We listen to them with an open mind and heart. People who act judgmental toward the world, life, politics, religion, etc. cause us to draw back and not engage in dialogue and friendship because we know there will be no dialogue and the friendship will only be one-sided. We still want to be friends but we know that our viewpoints and feelings will not be respected or appreciated. Yet when we keep reaching out in caring persistence to those who appear to be judgmental and condemning, something powerful happens. It makes no difference anymore what their attitude might be. What makes a difference is that our persistent caring creates an atmosphere of love. In this atmosphere of love, judgments and condemnations begin to be seen as very superficial and lose their power over us and over those doing the judging and condemning. We have changed the dance of life from an angry stomp into a loving dance.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his Web site is

Published: Tue, Mar 9, 2010