Two Sides to Every Coin

J. Keith Hughey


Volume XXI, Number 47 (Issue 1051) November 20, 2023

Two Sides to Every Coin

Many of us enjoy honoring family traditions this time of year. Some families make a point of coming together each Thanksgiving Day in someone’s home for a bountiful holiday meal and celebration. For some that meal is followed by an afternoon of football, be it on TV or in the yard in an overly competitive flag-football game. Still others make a point of spending part of their day serving a Thanksgiving meal to the less fortunate in their community while others focus their time and energy on the quest for Black Friday bargains.

For our family, gathering everyone together for the holidays has not been practical from the moment significant others, in-laws, and grandchildren entered the picture. Further complicating things, our family, extended family, and children of the heart are spread from London to Colorado and numerous points in between. Looking back, the mistake we made was not setting a precedent when our oldest left home. If we had it to do over, we would assemble the clan at Thanksgiving in even numbered years while in odd numbered years we would gather at Christmas. If only we could roll back the clock.

These days our best bet is to gather the San Antonio-based crew. Even then, it requires negotiation from one holiday to the next. As a result, this year Sandy and I will host our son, his wife, their three children, and our daughter-in-law’s parents at a favorite dining spot on Thanksgiving Day. No fuss. No muss (i.e., no clean up). The downside to that arrangement is no leftovers. A shining example of the two sides to every coin rule.

Another noteworthy example of the two sides to every coin rule can be found in the field of human behavior. In our consulting practice we focus considerable attention on identifying and leveraging individuals’ native abilities (strengths). There we find that for those who are imbued with the strengths of achiever and competition, they sometimes find their way to the dark side when the drive to win causes them to bend or overlook the rules. Similarly, for those blessed with the strength of harmony they can sometimes be tempted to avoid difficult conversations, even going along to get along rather than speak the truth to power.

Staying with the conflict theme a bit longer, there is another interpersonal dynamic guaranteed to surface two sides to every coin. In fact, it is the crux of much of our conflict inasmuch as we routinely see and interpret things differently compared to practically everyone else. I will explain. Trust goes a long way in minimizing conflict.

That is because we easily assume positive intent to the statements and actions of those we trust. Conversely, when trust is lacking, we are quick to assign negative (malicious) intent to the things that an individual says and does – whether warranted or not. So, let me ask you, how much conflict might be avoided if we were to assume positive rather than negative intent to others?

It is obvious there are two sides to every coin. But if we assume positive rather than negative intent, imagine how that might change things, including the pointless conflict that could be avoided.

Soli Deo Gloria
“May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.”
Jude 1:2

J. Keith Hughey

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Copyright 2023 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

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