As you are looking ahead to a new you in the new year, reading the Bible more may be on your list or part of your "2012 - Year in Review" letter. If so, I wanted to share something I've been doing in this area for a while now. In fact, I help produce a video that explains it and allows you to look in on a group following this method...enjoy! (Click the link below...)
It's the week between Christmas and the new year. It's the week we take down the Christmas decorations, return gifts, close the book on 2011 and start looking ahead to 2012. My guess is that we look ahead to the new year because when we reflect back on the previous year, we see plenty of things we wish had ended differently. We want to make changes.
Due to the blessings of my wife's very generous parents, our family just returned from a trip to the Hawaiian Islands. While we were there, we visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. If you've never been, it needs to be an item on your Bucket List. (That list of things you want to do before you "kick the bucket.") There's much more to see along with the Arizona. Things such as artifacts from the Pacific War of 1944. Among them are Kaiten Torpedos.
Kaiten Torpedos were very unique underwater missiles the Japanese created to destroy U.S. battleships. Along with the 3,000 pound explosive warhead, these torpedos were constructed to be driven by an individual Japanese serviceman who would manually steer the torpedo directly into the side of a battleship. It was a suicide mission. What struck me as I studied this instrument of mass destruction was the interpretation of the name Kaiten.
It appears the trend of sending family Christmas cards may be in decline. My mailbox hasn't been quite as full as in years past. Nonetheless, don't throw away the ones you get...Check this out: Christmas Cards Around the World.
It's a few days before Christmas. What part of this season are you most excited to experience? Is there a family tradition you only experience during this holiday season? Are there any relatives you can't wait to see? Is there a gift you're pretty sure is going to land in your hands? There's something to be said for the pure anticipation that goes along with the Christmas season.
In the Christmas story we read in the Bible, a man named Simeon is overlooked quite often. But he fully understood "anticipation." He had been tipped off by God's Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. We don't know who long he had been holding on to this promise. But I have to imagine that holding on to that promise for just one day would be enough to overwhelm anyone with anticipation.
Let's assume for a moment that he had this information for quite some time. Everyday he arose wondering if that day would be the day he would witness prophecy being fulfilled. Or would it be just another, ordinary day? How do you prepare for a day like that? You just can't block out time on your calendar for that appointment. I think a bigger question is how do you prepare for the day after? What do you do after you've seen the promised Savior?
When I look at my role as a parent and consider the many responsibilities I have to lead my kids, none gives me greater joy than simply spending time with them. One of the first bits of wisdom I received as a new parent was to cherish the time I have with my kids. Conventional wisdom says that they WILL grow up and leave the nest...no matter how much we might resist.
A friend of mine tells the story of her husband coming home one day to find her sitting in her closet in a complete emotional meltdown. It was just a few short days after they had brought their newborn son home from the hospital. Apparently she had just come to the realization that her precious bundle of joy was already growing and changing and, in her mind, would be leaving for college tomorrow. Her husband just chuckled, "Now, now...It will be OK."
Fast forward to that very event. It's the night before her firstborn leaves for college and the family is sitting at the dinner table. By this time, there's a second son added to the family and he's so giddy, he can't stand it. Why? He's about to get a promotion. He's moving into his big brother's room and his enthusiasm only announces one thing: the first born had grown up and is leaving home.
Yesterday, I heard a story and knew immediately that I wanted to share it with this audience. It was shared by my friend Donna Ward, whom I hope to see joining the "blogosphere" in the near future. She has a great perspective on the Bible, loves teaching it and does so with much passion.
Donna shared how she was in the midst of a challenge in her life. At the same time, her teenage daughter, Hannah, was having her own challenges that frequently raise their head in the life of a teenager. As any mom would do, Donna was carrying both challenges, seeking resolution and closure. As she lay in bed one morning, praying through her situation and feeling as though no one had ever been in this place before, the Lord asked her, "How do you think Hannah feels?" It was as if He was reminding her that she wasn't alone and that others are in the same boat.
Later that morning, Donna was sharing this experience with her daughter. She was simply trying to encourage her by telling her how God's Holy Spirit had brought her situation to mind. (This is where it gets good.) As she continued about her morning routine, she noticed the room had grown silent. She turned around to see her teenage daughter standing there with a tear gliding down her cheek.
When I was in college, a group of friends and I were out trekking through the woods on a hot summer day, near Lake Hartwell, SC. As we made our way along the bank, someone in our group said, "What's that?" We all looked up to see a rope-swing dangling from a branch that reached out over the lake.
There was no question as to what to do next. We scurried over to make our accent up this tree to see who would be first to fly through the air with Tarzan-like grace and into the cool, refreshing waters of Lake Hartwell. Somehow in this race of champions, I made it to the tree first and ascended to the launch site. The last guy there had honor of retrieving the dangling rope.
As the end of the rope was passed up the tree, I began to pick the best spot for my descent. I took the rope, gave it a tug and....
Wait, I took the rope, gave it a tug and...and....and...
If you're at all connected to the sports world, you are aware of the buzz surrounding Tim Tebow. This is a young man who knows his purpose in life and leverages his influence to bring honor to God. He's a gifted athlete and as he mentions here, to be given such talent and not use it off the field would be a shame.
This is good...
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(This is part 3 of How to Help Your Kids be Successful. Here are links to the previous post: Part 1 / Part 2. In order to conclude this series of posts, this one will be a little lengthy.)
The book, Different Children Different Needs (see below) was an instrumental tool in guiding us to explore how God wired our three children. Through a series of observational questions, we were able to identify where each child landed on Dr. Boyd's spectrum. It turns out that the genetic code is different in each child. I'll unfold this in birth-order.
Taylor was our firstborn. She was our trial-and-error child. Fortunately, we used another resource that really helped direct our path as first-time parents (see the link below for Baby Wise.) As I eluded to earlier, she is our "life is a party" child. Everything to her is an experience full of inward and outward emotions. She smiles and laughs a lot. Part of the identifiable traits for her personality is expressiveness. Not only with emotions, but in other areas as well. When she was two years old, she loved puzzles. She would just sit in the floor and work puzzles. One would think how fortunate we were to have a child that would find a spot, sit still and occupy themselves with something like puzzles. This would be accurate were it not for the fact that in her concentration, she uttered this LOUD humming noise. We never had to wonder where she was...we just traced down the buzz.
As she grew older, she moved from puzzles to drawing. It was about this time that we discovered the DCDC book. The basis for Dr. Boyd's book was that once a parent had an inkling of the gifts, abilities and personality traits their child has, they should explore those areas further. Not with the notion that their child is the next prodigy, but to allow them to develop their natural, gifted abilities. Taylor's kindergarten teacher recognized her ability to draw very well and suggested art lessons. We jumped on the idea.
The photo to the right reveals Taylor's ability. As you can see, she really has a gift. It was apparent early on that she has a flair for expressive art. Along the way to the present day she has been an award-winning dancer, won public speaking contests and has won championships with teammates in Competitive Cheer and Cross-Country. We simply discovered that she thrives in environments where she can engage with others and outwardly express who she is on the inside through art (dance, drawing, and speaking.)
(This is the second installment of a series of post on how my wife and I sought to develop our children's gifts and abilities that are enabling them to fulfill their God-given potential. You may want to go back and read How to Help Your Kids be Successful.)
As a young dad early in my parenting days, I made it a discipline to listen to the wisdom of those who were already raising children. Two observations that seemed to be consistent were: "Enjoy your children as much as you can because they grow up so fast" and "You will be amazed at how two children who come from the same parents and live in the same home will be absolute opposite of each other." This last bit of wisdom proved to be 100% true in our home.
Our firstborn was the "life is a party" child. I picked up on this when I entered my bathroom one night to see her as a three-year-old standing on a step giving her mom an enthusiastic rendition of "Jesus Loves the Little Children" without one stitch of clothing. Yep! This one was going to enjoy life.
When her sister came along, I fully expected another version of our first child. Apparently, the wisdom I had gleaned from others had escaped my mind and I was in for an eye-opening experience. Where our first child appeared to be the life of the party, our second one was the party planner. She was the organizer, server and cleaner all in one. We should have used "Detail" as her middle name.
A few years later, their brother came along. Just the mere fact that he's a boy says enough. He's all boy...there's no confusion on that part. Yet, he has his own outlook on life and strangely enough, he fits somewhere in the middle between his sisters.
So here I was in my own Behavioral Science laboratory, trying to figure out "the way they should go."
The title of this blog gives the impression that much of my posting is out of the overflow of my "world." It's my perspective on the "abundant life" promised in scripture (John 10:10). Sometimes, it is a closer look into the events of my personal life. As is the case of this post.
My family has had an unusually public life in recent weeks as our middle child, Logan (13), has been put out in public forums like youth sports magazines, websites, and local papers. She has established herself as quite the distance runner. I'm sure that carries a very strong parent bias, but the stopwatch speaks for itself. I also know that we all have our own tribes and thus her performance is most significant to those within the running community.
As you might imagine, her mother and I are often asked about her background. "How did she start?", "What makes her so fast?", "How does she train?" are the more popular questions. This is not an attempt to answer those questions. Rather I want to share how we ended up in this spot.
As you think about your life in its current state, do you see someone whose life has a clear destination? Or do you see someone uncertain about where their life is going? Or maybe, you see someone who's just stuck...stuck in the mud.
In the Bible, the prophet Jeremiah had a clear destination for his life. He was to lead God's chosen children, the Jews, back to a "path" God had prepared for them, but they wouldn't listen. In fact, on one occasion, they seized him and threw him into a cistern. As the scripture describes this scene, we find, "...so Jeremiah sank in the mire." (Jeremiah 38:6)
Here's a man on a mission but facing adversity at every turn. His faith and resolve was being tested. Would he just give up and get angry at God? Would he play the victim card and offer no resistance at all? Or would he keep his faith engaged, continue taking risks, and trust God to use this event in his life to grow him as a leader? What would you do?
This week we received a hand-written letter in the mail from one of our children's teachers. She was writing to share her observations of how hard this particular child had been working in her class. Needless to say we were proud parents and wasted no time sharing this letter later that night.
As a former teacher, I loved using this practice: What gets rewarded gets repeated. I would do the same as this teacher did or just pick up the phone and call parents. I wanted my students to know that I was in their corner and wanted them to succeed in my class. I was constantly looking for strides of success so that I could quickly draw attention to it and thus motivating them to continue their hard work.
That same day I observed someone in a position of authority completely blow an opportunity to reward someone who had worked very hard on a task. What surprised me the most was my own emotional charge. I tend to be a very mild-mannered guy, but being an innocent by-stander, watching this unfold I was...simply put...ANGRY!
If you read my post about being an IDEA guy, you'll remember that processing ideas is just how I function in life. The strange facet of this attribute is that it's not intentional. I just see "it" and the wheels start turning.
I recently had an experience where I was reading a E-newsletter and clicked on a link to go gather some information. When I followed the link, I landed on a webpage with another link to click by the same name. I clicked again to finally end up where I was hoping to be two clicks earlier. I thought to myself, "Why don't they paste the second link in place of the first link and save one click?"
In typical fashion, I crafted an email with my suggestion...end of story...take it or leave it...I'm good...I've shared my idea (got to keep casting.)
The new Sherwood film, Courageous, opened this past fall. If you've not seen it, I assure you this is not a "spoiler" post. It is however, a resource I hope many dads find helpful.
In the movie, one of the dads takes his teenage daughter out for a very nice date. The intent of this date was to talk with her about protecting her innocence and waiting for God's man for her life to engage in the intimacy of sex. This Daddy-Daughter Date is a great concept. In fact, I shared this same experience with my oldest this past Valentine's Day.
As our big date approached, I wanted to be prepared for what I would say. I didn't want to just wing it. Like many, I turned to the internet for assistance only to come up short handed. I did stumble across a few things that pointed me in the right direction, but nothing exhaustive. Through much prayer and many drafts, I finally crafted something I felt said what I wanted to communicate.
If you're interested, here is a bulleted list of how I structured the conversation.
My son is on this "Joke of the Day" kick. Earlier this week, he dropped this one on me:
"How does Justin Bieber stay cool? He stays close to his fans!!!"
In my lastpost, I planted the thought that everyone is a star, you just need to find your audience. And you can't be a star if you do not have any fans. While we may never have as many as Justin Bieber, there are people out there who are cheering for you and really want you to succeed.
At the same time we're building our "fan-base", tribe or followers, we must remember that this whole thing is a big cycle. I once read that the best way to get friends is to be one. I would submit that the best way to get fans is to be one. So what does it mean to be a fan?
"Everybody is a star, you just need to find your audience."
I had this revelation not too long ago as I watched young ladies participate in a leadership recognition event. My girls were invited to this program a few years ago and it's made a huge impact on their lives. From this event, they've had opportunities to speak and perform in public, serve in many areas of our community and meet many other girls like them...Stars.
You see, I've come to accept that everyone is a star. It's just that not everyone has found their audience. As I watched these young ladies display the qualities that make them unique, I realized that each one had their own audience. An audience is any group of people who can see your potential. As these girls performed, introduced themselves to the crowd or simply engaged with her peers, they always had someone cheering them on.
We're working on the next component of our TRANSFORM emphasis for 2011. It's Prayer. As I have read material on prayer, sat in meetings on prayer and taken a hard look at my own prayer life, it's been revealing as to how much room I have to improve in this area.
One revalation I had was how little I trust God. I tend to lean more on my ability than His availability. I go to my plan first and ask Him to bless it or lead me. He desires the opposite. In Matthew 6, we read that if we seek first His kingdom then He will cover our needs. We just need to trust Him more and trust us less.
Today I was working on some of these components and crafted a pattern for me to follow as I talk to my Heavenly Father.
Does your marriage need a check-up? The next 60 seconds can change your marriage, but you have to keep reading.
I have had the opportunity to meet with many couples for pre-marital counseling. As we began our journey to their wedding day, I approach each one with this mindset: I'm not a travel agent - telling all the places you can go and what to do; I'm more like a tour guide - we're on the journey together. One offer I have made to every couple is the opportunity to meet together once a year for a time of reflection and celebration. It's always fun as we catch up and reminisce about the wedding or some other experience we all shared along the way. It's also a joy to see that they aren't too busy IN their marriage that they can stop to work ON their marriage.
"Some people are so busy IN marriage that they forget to stop and work ON their marriage." -Click to Tweet
Have you ever experienced the difference between being asked to do something and being told to do the same thing?
A co-worker recently asked me to complete a task and then followed up to make sure I had completed the whole process. As we concluded our conversation, it occurred to me how engaging and provoking his request was versus the "it's not what you expect, but what you inspect that gets done" model. His approach was very inviting. I appreciated this so much I decided to let him know. That's when I learned my latest "Collision" lesson.
This co-worker had a life-changing experience a few years back when he served time in prison. Without all of the gory details, the point he made was simple. He said to me, "Dwayne, it cost me $5,000,000 to learn how to work with people correctly. The other way is what caused me to end up in a cell and I lost every asset I had. That's a lesson I need not learn twice."
How do you deal with people? Do you attract people or do they head the other way?
Living on the East Coast gets a little edgy this time of year as hurricane season is upon us. Currently, we have "Isaac" headed our way. I caught wind of her journey over the weekend watching a Hurricane Tracker Video Update on YouTube. As I watched the video, the narrator pointed out the island of Hispaniola, which is the home of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The significance of this island was interesting as it relates to hurricanes. On this island is a mountain range that peaks out at 8,000 to 10,000 feet. Were "Isaac" to pass through this range, the mountains would contribute to slowing it down or even breaking it up. Unfortunately, the forecast had the storm going just north of the range, rendering it obstacle-free and thus, full steam ahead.
It's gearing up to be one of those crazy weeks. School is in full-force and we're about 10 days out from our first Cross-Country race. The anxiety is building. Both girls are in a strong groove right now. I think they both are ready to see how they stack up.
The week is about to get "crazy" because our church (www.firstnorth.org) will be hosting 54 missionaries this week. We will have the opportunity to love and appreciate them for the work they do around the world. It's nice to be appreciated..."People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
Are you an “idea person?” I am. You know, the person walking around the office using phrases like: “Have we ever…”, “What if we…”, or “I was thinking…” Some people hate it when these people walk into the room, much less open their mouth to share one of their “ideas.” Most of the time a new idea means spending more money or energy than what’s being distributed at the present moment. It would be easy for the “idea guy” or “idea gal” to get discouraged. But true “idea people” understand that for every twenty ideas, they might strike gold on one and they are OK with that.
I once read an article in Parade Magazine about Skeet Reese, a professional bass fisherman who won the Bassmaster Classic in 2009. Near the end of the article, I discovered a word picture of how I operate in the creative world. Here is the sentence:
While my dad is away in Nicaragua, he has asked me to fill in for him this week. I am his oldest daughter, Taylor, a sophomore in high school in this upcoming school year.
This past week I attended Student Leadership University in Washington DC. I was able to hear from many Christian leaders that work within the political arena. But one of my favorite sessions was The Lincoln Legacy, by Brent Crowe.
Brent gave many examples of why Lincoln was such an amazing leader, and what we can learn from his life. I wanted to share with you a few of these lessons.
This week Apple launched the new OS X Lion operating system for its computers. One key enhancement will be the availability to function more in the "cloud." In case you're not familiar with Cloud Computing, it's basically using the web to store lots of data. During the pre-cloud era, you could run programs from the web, but data was typically stored on your computer, therefore consuming precious storage space. Now you can throw photos, music and more out there in web-land and preserve your personal space.
What's interesting is that the whole Cloud thing really isn't new. Some leaders have been using the "cloud" in their leadership for a long time. Their goal is to intentionally create a cloud of dust so that those who follow them aren't real sure which way they are going. They just trust that the leader knows where he or she is going, so it must be a good thing...right?
This is not another 5-Step Strategy for goal setting or achieving the dream. I just want to share something I came across recently in the book of Daniel. At the beginning of chapter 7, we find Daniel having a dream. Not just any dream, but one that stirs him from his sleep.
"...Daniel had a dream and saw visions as he lay in his bed. He wrote down the dream,"
Did you see it? Did you catch the defining principle between the "doers" and the "don'ters". Daniel wrote down the dream!
A businessman who is in construction recently shared this thought with me: "When I pick up a hammer, our production goes down." I have to admit, I was a bit perplexed...then he explained what he meant.
When he shows up on a site to check on a crew, undoubtedly, he will get the urge to grab a hammer and start helping. That's what a servant-leader should do...right? The problem here is that his crew will stop working to watch what he is doing, therefore prolonging the completion of their task. This in turn, slows down the project. When he realizes what is happening, he drops the hammer and leaves the site.
Do you ever think to yourself that there has to be more to life than what you're currently getting? I have found myself in a tidal wave of influences that are following the same thread...life is too short to "endure." We're all equipped with abilities and talents that make us unique. The challenge is to find a way to connect those things with the time we have to give...maybe during our "eight hours" of work each day and get paid for it.
I would submit that one way to make a change is to embrace the opportunities to meet new people and learn from them. I call them collisions. When we "collide" with others, we have the opportunity to Listen, Learn and Leverage what we learn. It's a great idea. Look for people to collide with and see what happens. I've created something to capture these moments. Take a look: www.creatingcollisions.com.
This July 4th, my family was invited over by friends to grill out and watch the neighborhood kids shoot fireworks. As the firework festivities began, one of their neighbors came out with a digital SLR camera to take shots of the fireworks. It was a new camera and she was learning how to use it, especially at night. After a few clicks, I asked how the pictures were turning out and she said, "Not good...they're blurry." Having dabbled in photography, I walked over to offer a few suggestions on settings that typically work when shooting photos in low light environments and returned to my host.
A little later I asked about the photos and got, "That fixed it! They all look great!" Then she added something that hung in my mind. "That's the beauty of this camera...I get instant feedback." I began to think, "How did the 'old-school' photographers learn which settings worked the best?" They were limited to having to take the photo, wait until the roll of film was finished and processed before they were able to see the results of their selected settings. I'm sure they had a system, but it sure seems pre-historic.
The same is true with the people who help us complete our tasks. They need instant feedback. How successful would any athlete become if he or she only received feedback at the end of the season? Hopefully, that doesn't make sense to you.
The people we influence need frequent feedback on how they are doing and how it contributes to the success of the big picture. They need to see the value they add as well as if something they are doing isn't adding any value at all. But this information cannot be put in a file only to be retrieved for the "annual review." Our feedback needs to be instant and in tune with where they going and how it adds value to the objectives of the organization.
Have you noticed a shift in leadership models? I have started reading Jeremy Kubicek's "Leadership Is Dead." (I've actually stopped in order to allow a companion to catch up so we can exchange impressions...) Kubicek makes the case for a shift in leadership models. It has influenced my thinking on my own leadership style and has heightened my awareness to the leadership models around me.
One distinction I've noticed is that "Old Schoolers" tend to measure success in tangibles: the "bottom line", people and widgets. Not to dismiss the value of these metrics, but I sense that "New Schoolers" don't land on the same page. They tend to measure success by intangibles: Was the process effective? Were there any "hiccups"? Did the people have a good experience?
So how about you? Are you "Old School" or "New School"? Do you agree or disagree?
Chip Crane is the leader I mentioned in my last post who's story prompted me to begin writing my Love List. I asked him to share his Love List and how the list came into existence...
I was in a hotel room in San Fran on a Sunday afternoon. I was in a leadership position with good income, meaning I was "comfortable" by material standards. However, I wanted my life to be used to make a SIGNIFICANT impact on others both inside and outside of my sphere of influence, so I prayed.
"God, what did you build me for? Give me my purpose. Show me Your heart." He then had me write my love list, then my gifts/talents, then see if my life experiences supported that and finally if that would be of value to the world. Of course all these aligned.
My love list was: 1. Outdoor activities (climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, etc.) 2. Leading others 3. Teaching 4. There are more, but the top 3 are just that - the top three.
MY gifts/talents and experience supported each of those. In that I had been doing the outdoor activities for 20+ years, I had lead others for 19+ years and I had been teaching college courses for years (continuing education to be specific). As well I had received some of the worlds best leadership training (see the http://www.highestgols.com/index_files/About_us.htm for details.) As I looked over this list and considered all the resources and training I had received, the idea of an outdoor leadership school was the next step.
Keep working on that list! Life is too short to watch others live in their "sweet spot."
I recently had lunch with a gentleman for the purposes of hearing the story of his "Low Profit" start-up. Part of his story involves his response to something he read in "Wild at Heart" by John Ortberg. Out of what he read, he was compelled to pull out a pad of paper and a pen and begin making a list of all the things he loved and loved to do. This list was the catalyst to his new start-up, an outdoor leadership experience.
What stuck with me the most was this concept of a "Love List." Sitting down and writing out a list of the things you love to do and then begin to ask the Lord to lead you to or open up the opportunity to do all of those things in a way that honors Him and quite possibly will allow you to support your life and/or family.
So, what does your Love List look like? (I'm still working on mine. Will post here soon.) I'd love to see your list! Please post in the comment section.
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."
My friend, Jay Hardwick shared this on his blog (jayhardwick.com) and I felt compelled to do the same. It's a mystery to me who actually pays attention to my ramblings and I suspect that many are random viewers. That being said, I have to believe this is for someone...maybe you.
I was struck by Jesus' emphasis on "believing" as I recently worked through the book of John with the S.O.A.P. method (previous post.) Take a look. It's time to know and show what you believe.
How's your love tank? By that, I mean, how are you doing on pouring love into others? Here's a "test" based on 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient...Do you give in too easily? Love is kind...Do you care more for others than yourself? Love does not envy...Do you want what you can't have? Love does not boast...Do you strut when you know you're right? Love is not proud...Do you get a little over-confident? Love does not dishonor others...Do you force your opinion onto others? Love is not self-seeking...Do you have a "Me first!" attitude? Love is not easily angered...Do you fly off the handle too quickly? Love keeps no record of wrongs...Do you keep score of the sins of others? Love does not delight in evil...Do you revel when others grovel? Love rejoices with the truth...Do you take pleasure in having truth? Love always protects...Do you put up with anything? Love always trusts...Do you trust God always? Love always hopes...Do you look for the best in others? Love always perseveres...Do you look back or do you look ahead? Love never fails...are you committed to the end?
In preparation for the upcoming Myrtle Beach/Dasani Half-Marathon, I had a dreaded 12-miler this past week. These long runs always go by faster when I run with a group or partner. You get to talk while you run and trust me...when you have to run for two hours, you find plenty to share.
My running buddy began to sharing about a opportunity he recently had to reach out to a homeless gentleman in our area. The point of the story wasn't the token of his generosity. It was the presence of the curious spectators in his vehicle...his kids. He wanted them to be witnesses to what it means to love your neighbor as Jesus loves us. He also shared how when he finds a deal on Krispie Kreme doughnuts...a buy a dozen, get a dozen steal, he'll grab his kids and take off with hope that the "Hot & Now" light is bursting in it's blaring red neon. As they consume the first dozen, he will announce, "OK kids. Now we have to give away the other dozen."
As he shared this, it occurred to me that this guy is a D-6 Dad! To be more specific...a Deuteronomy 6 Dad! (Click here to read the text.)
Basically, he understands that it's our job to teach our kids the guiding principles of God's word. Too often parents treat the spiritual development of their children the same way they treat piano lessons or baseball. They don't know how to do it themselves, so they drop them off with someone who does.
Don't be that parent. Embrace the blessing of leading your kids and helping them develop their God-given potential.
I'm revisiting some books I've read in the past and with the help of my dandy assistant, we're updating my reference system. This morning I'm thumbing through, "The Next Generation Leader" written by Andy Stanley. I came across this little blurb that I thought was worth sharing. The chapter title is "Managing Your Uncertainty" and he speaks to leading in uncertain times. You know...those times in life when you just aren't sure which option to choose. Andy makes two great points: 1) We're seldom going to be 100% certain in our decisions. In fact, he says, at best, we'll be 80% certain. The danger is that while we are waiting for the other 20% to materialize, we're missing out on opportunities and time. 2) It's OK to be uncertain, but not OK to be unclear. The people we lead (yes, we all lead someone...even if it's ourselves) need to see confidence in our eyes. He offers a few phrases to file away for times of uncertainty:
"I don't know right now, but I am confident we can figure it out."
"I don't know. I have never done this before. But I think we are up for the challenge."
"I don't know, but with folks like you around, I am confident we will come up with a solution."