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This individual, Mr. White, is going through a severe midlife crisis which is primarily manifested emotionally and economically, and is not uncommon for people in the U.S. after they have reached 40 years of age (Wethington, 2000, p. 85). Mr. White has had immense difficulties with his personal life and professional life. His wife of a few years had divorced him and moved to the other side of the country where she was raising their two daughters with another man. When she incurred legal problems, she required White's presence so the state would not take her daughters away. White currently lives with his ex-wife and their two daughters, who primarily function as his support system. The girls are both within five years old; there is no romance between White and his ex-wife. White's parents are both in their 90's and offer limited support across the country in California, where he was living with them after his divorce.
White's temperament is tenuous at best. He is extremely insecure regarding his previous failures as a husband and a parent, and is attempting to make up for them now. He also is decidedly choleric, and believes that his opinions and methods for doing things are better than most everyone else's (which contributed to his initial divorce). Despite having lived with his daughters and ex-wife for eight months, White has failed to procure a job. He worked sporadically as a disc jockey in California, which was his greatest accomplishment other than producing children. To his credit, however, White is a devout Methodist and tries to incorporate Christian principles into his daily activities. White has attempted to compensate for his lack of job and frustration at having no real emotional connection with anyone other than his daughters -- who are just now getting to know him -- by functioning as a maintenance man around his residence. He is so ardent about sweeping, raking, and doing things his way that he battered his next door neighbor, whom he perceives as some sort of threat to his manhood, and faces criminal charges.
The preceding case study indicates that White has two distinct advantages in his favor that can assist him in successfully negotiating through this midlife crisis. The first is that he is a Christian, and therefore is likely to listen to church leaders for guidance regarding his problems. Additionally, White has motivation to change in the form of his daughters: for their sakes, he should desire to find direction in his own life and become a better person to serve as a model for them. By adhering to the word of God and evincing a profound desire to change, White can surpass his midlife crisis.
There are a few critical points of ministering that a church leader could emphasize to White to get him to realize that his legal and personal problems stem from a midlife crisis and his own shortcomings as a person. The path to truly helping him involves acknowledging these shortcomings and then systematically addressing them. It is up to the pastor to ensure that White understands that his problems stem from him and him alone, and cannot be blamed on others or circumstances. A good father, which White desires to be, has a job. The minister should attempt to impress this fact upon White, who needs to understand that a good father is not someone who merely tells others (his children) what to do, but actually provides for them in a variety of ways including monetarily, emotionally, and psychologically. If White had a job he would feel better about himself and not always think that he is correct in everything that he attempts to do. It would also free him from attempting to supervise and conduct daily maintenance on a resident that does not need such attention. His working would also show his children that working is a vital aspect of life.
Subsequently, the church leader should work with White to understand that there is a correlation between his own uncertainty and reduced self-esteem and the other principle determinants of his character -- the fact that he is quickly prone to anger and always thinks he is right. The pastor could explain that part of White's anger is related to the fact that he is out of work and is living with a woman who is not romantically inclined towards him. Additionally, the church leader could explain that…[continue]
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