Each quarter Dirt gets a new batch of students that are working their way through two years of instruction on areo-planes. Dirt is the Power Plant guy, that'd be mechanics for those who don't speak areo-plane.
But Dirt has found that making a person a top knotch mechanic and in some cases inspector, takes more than teaching them how to turn a wrench and where. So Dirt starts off teaching them a little about themselves that hopefully will help them be alert and aware as they put together planes or look over some one's job to make sure the plane will stay up in the sky. Always a good thing even if your not up in the plane yourself.
The first thing Dirt, Mr. Vick to his students and sometimes me, teaches them is that there are a few fairly predictable things about people and those predictable things can get in the way of doing the best job or can get folks into down right trouble. He has this paragraph that he has them read. Then he asks them to count up all the f's that they can find in the paragraph. They usually only find about half. Why? Half of the f's are in the word "of", and unless a person is a proof reader or an editor, their brain usually sees those f's as v's instead. Even when the students are told that they have missed half of the f's and are given a second chance to find them, there are still about half that miss them, and it is not an indicator of smart verses dumb students.
Somewhere in the Human Factors class Dirt brings up marriage, I think he manages to slip it in in that marital relationships often have an effect on work performance, I suppose that your work performance could be affected by just about all of your important relationships but Dirt loves to talk specifically about marriage, marriage is a big thing to Dirt, as his wife I'm kinda glad it is.
Some of the marriage stuff he covers is how guys don't like to talk much, lets say eight words a day worth of talking, and girls love to talk, uh I mean need to talk, something like sixty-five thousand gazillion words worth, and writing doesn't count. Any way, that propensity to few words in men is coupled with the need to solve problems. Problem solving, something men love to do and love to do quickly and with as few words as possible. It is true that not necessarily all men are short on words, we know a few men who seem to have a bit of chick in them when it comes to long windedness, so their problem solving ideas just come wrapped up in a few more words than other guys, but Dirt contends he has yet to meet a normal guy who doesn't immediately go into problem solving mode, but then we don't have lazy friends for too long.
Any way, Dirt tells his students, mostly men, that when they go home they need to be willing to listen to their wife, to hear all about her frustrations and irritations attentively and actively, but, and this is an important but he tells them, do not tell them what they should do about the problem. Actively listen (this means put down the remote or the newspaper or the lap top, and really listen, ask questions, then when she is nearly done, ask her what SHE thinks is a way out of the problem or situation.
He has some students that shine on his information or think that they don't need to apply it, he has the rest of the quarter to "get" to them, but every once in a while one of his students actually takes it in right away. This quarter one did and came back to tell Mr. Vick about it.
This student, we will call him Orlando, came to school the next day beaming. He told Mr. Vick that he felt great, more relaxed than he has felt in the morning in a long time. Then he told Mr. Vick that he used what Mr. Vick told him the day before.
It just so happened that his wife came home in a rather foul mood. Things had not gone well at her work. Orlando said that normally he would listen for a minute, get the gist and then start telling her what she should do, just like what Mr. Vick says most men do, so he stopped himself abruptly and decided to try out what Dirt, uh Mr. Vick, told him to do. He actively listened. He asked her attentive but sensitive questions. He said he really let her talk and talk through all manner of side issues and "stuff."
But because Orlando was attentive and actively listening she got through her need to talk fairly quickly and began the wind down. He asked her what SHE thought she ought to do, and she worked her way through a couple of possibilities, just like Mr. Vick said would happen. At the end of the conversation Orlando said she earnestly looked at him and sincerely thanked him for listening.
After Orlando told Mr. Vick about how it really worked and how thankful he was for Mr. Vick's information he repeated how his day was already going better than his usual days and how he felt so much more relaxed. Dirt and I are pretty sure that Orlando's wife took him down the hallway, as we say around here, that night. Always a win win situation Mr. Vick says.
Mr. Vick is thankful that he learned the things about marriage that he has over the years, his only regret is that he didn't learn them earlier, but he says, better late than later. And he is so grateful that he learned them that he really likes passing the information along to others. The information is good, Mr. Vick isn't living in a fantasy where he just thinks those things are working, they are. I am a far far better wife than I was when we were first married, I could be better but the poor guy doesn't have very good basic material to work with. But ultimately, and I've said it before but it bears repeating, that it is the man who makes a good wife.
Those of us in Christian circles have all heard of the Proverbs Thirty-one Woman and some of us raised our daughters to be just such a gal. But after being Mr. Vick's wife and having the fortunate pleasantry of growing and maturing under his gentle wing of protection and love, I say that Momma Lemuel wasn't telling her son to find the perfect girl so much as she was telling him to be the husband who would have such a wife.
Those active traits and abilities the Proverbs Thirty-one Woman has are not seen in a young bride, the potential is there, that is for sure, but potentials are either developed or lost. His character, as the leader of his family, is reflected in his family, not the other way around. I'm glad I'm not a man, they have a tough job for sure.