As much as I’d like to write about baseball today, it’s not happening. Instead, I’m going to address the concept of second chances. I wonder whether you’ve ever asked someone for a second chance, or if you’ve given one to somebody else. I hope so, and that’s because I believe we’re all entitled to a do-over from time to time.
On the subject, I’m going to share three stories from my actual case files (names and details have been modified to protect my clients’ privacy).
Case No. 1: The son-in-law cheated on my client’s daughter by having sex with a prostitute at a bachelor party in San Diego. My client was in a moral uproar, yet her daughter was inclined to forgive and forget. How much does this scenario weigh on the second chance scale? Is it a different number for my client than for her daughter? What if you’re the unfaithful spouse? Are you asking for a second chance because you are truly remorseful, or because you got caught? Are you willing to work on the relationship, or will you simply phone it in for the sake of your children?
Case No, 2: Three 40-something year old sisters were dealing with the death of their father. Two of the sisters lived in Las Vegas and were the caregivers for their ailing dad. The third sister lived in Arizona. When the time came to go through their father’s things, the local sisters formed a united front against their other sibling, denying her access and denying her the opportunity to acquire some sentimental remembrances of their father. In the mediation process, it was revealed that the two sisters effectively banished the other one into exile because she stole money from their dad and used it to buy drugs when they were all in high school. Should another scale be used if the situation occurred 25 years ago? What effect does a second chance have on this family?
Case No. 3: Jenny is happily married and has a seven-year-old daughter named Daisy. Sarah is Jenny’s sister-in-law who, evidently, has been spoiled and enabled her whole life. Sarah has been in and out of detox facilities and drug rehab programs for many years. According to Jenny, Sarah is and always will be an addict. That being said, Sarah also is a kind, loving and attentive aunt to her niece, Daisy. Sarah had been asking to take her niece for a “girls’ day,” but Jenny won’t consent because she doesn’t trust Sarah to be alone with Daisy. How can Jenny give her sister-in-law a second chance?
In all of these situations, faith in the relationship plays an important role in considering a second chance. I’m convinced that both second chance givers and second chance receivers need a fresh start. And that involves forgiveness. Easier said than done.
Please share your opinion about any or all of these cases. And if you’ve been involved in a second chance, how did it work out for you?