One of the struggles articulated by individuals who are becoming Mandt instructors is how to move from the conceptual information to the practical application. Many times, it is the stories shared in the Mandt event that really illustrates how that transition may occur. I recently had an opportunity to work with CJ. CJ works at a forensic facility in Texas. He has been a Mandt instructor for many years and has excellent skills. In class he shared how he has grown in his application of the concepts he has learned by his teaching. CJ’s story is shared with his permission. It is my intention to honor him for sharing his experience and how The Mandt System has positively changed his life.
CJ drove to a donut shop to make a purchase. As he drove into the parking lot he saw a truck pass a parking space and subsequently, CJ pulled into the space. After pulling in he saw the parking lights of the truck come on and realized that the person had intended to back into the space that he had just entered. There was another space next to his and the individual backed into the space. The person parked his vehicle so close that CJ was unable to open the car door. Now, the “old” CJ would have responded very differently and would not even consider apologizing in this situation; but he took a new approach. Here, he had an opportunity to link the conceptual with the practical.
CJ rolled down the window and informed the individual that due to the proximity of the vehicles, he couldn’t get out of the car. The man replied, “I know”. CJ then asked the individual if he would adjust the truck so he could get out. Although man’s attitude was obviously confrontational, he did make the adjustment. When CJ got out of his vehicle and the man saw CJ’s height and size, the man’s demeanor immediately changed, he appeared apprehensive and he hurried into the donut shop. When CJ entered the shop he saw the man standing in the corner, apparently trying to appear inconspicuous. CJ approached the man and said, “I am sorry that I took your parking space. Where I come from if someone passes a space it means that it is available and I just didn’t realize you planned to back in. I apologize.” The man immediately relaxed and apologized for his behavior as well. He then explained that his son had been in an accident and was in a serious condition. He had just left the emergency service and was feeling on edge. That is likely why he reacted the way he did about the parking space.
Occasionally CJ and the man encounter each other and they have developed a casual but friendly relationship. CJ developed a healthy relationship which demonstrates that through our attitudes, our perceptions and affirming our feelings, we have tremendous power over our behavior and can positively influence the behavior of others.
This is a great story which illustrates the practical application of concepts such as treating people with respect and dignity, affirming your emotions and choosing your behaviors, checking your perception, and setting events. It also illustrates that The Mandt System is not something that should be used to support people with disabilities, but can in fact be a benefit to each of us in our daily interactions with anyone.
Aaryce Hayes – SVP Operations The Mandt System