We could start up a written conversation on almost any innocent subject and with the combination of his controlling nature and my sophomoric wisdom, would end up angry and on bad terms. Eventually both of us learned that it was best to talk things over in person rather than try to iron them out by mail or even telephone.
The lesson was valuable to me in professional and family life. I quickly learned not to fight my battles from the pulpit, the church paper or even by telephone. Too easy to be misunderstood. And sending messages through third parties was a fatal mistake. Just sit down and hash things over. Listen thoughtfully. Compromise where it is wise. Make sure you are heard in the process - at least to the degree that you need to be heard. Learn to grant the benefit of the doubt. Trust. Wait. Love one another.
It works. In this new age the offending opportunities lie in email, chat rooms, instant messages, blogs, web pages, and of course, the telephone. Young folks - and their elders as well - honestly and innocently believe that one can deal with real issues without being with the person him or herself. Sorry folks. There is no substitute for seeing, hearing, touching, laughing, crying, communicating with a real live person. Face to face. That hasn't, and never will, change.
I saw a cartoon recently of two young girls instant messaging each other. They were in the same room. About 3 feet apart. Somehow, it didn't strike me as being the least bit funny.