I got a nice surprise this week. More truthfully, it was partly nice and partly disturbing.
The surprise was my son had written an article for his youth group newsletter. That’s nice. I had no idea he wrote it. That’s disturbing. More disturbing was his topic: relationships. This disturbs me because just days ago I wrote a post about relationships but had no idea what was spinning for him in this regard. Yes, we do communicate fairly well. Obviously there’s room for improvement.
Anyhow, I was encouraged by his introspection and transparency. He’s a young man who thinks and cares deeply about many things. He makes me want to be a better dad. Here is what he wrote…
My New Year’s resolutions from last year are quite large by amount when compared to my family’s usual output. My massive hulking list of what I wanted to change about me consisted of one single item, that was in fact quite large by comparison to many other people’s ideas of what the New Year should be about.
While other people may commit to vague ideas about washing the car more often or being more diligent, my single minute resolution was brutally specific: grow closer and stronger in all of my relationships. Although small in composition, it held a big idea. In order to accomplish it, I would have to change something a lot bigger than losing weight or becoming a vegetarian. I would have to change me; my heart specifically. The big thing was, if a relationship is about you, then chances are they will be both unfulfilled and frustrating. I had spent the year previous trying as hard as my little mind could to figure out how to gain the things I wanted from people, namely respect, love, and a healthy dose of safety. Yet nothing was working.
On bike trip God knocked on my heart and pointed a finger at my selfish use of relationships to gain what He was willing to give. I tried from that day till the end of 2009 to be more humble, more compassionate, more willing to let the other person do the talking. It was slow going, but eventually I started to get somewhere. I knew that it was going to be difficult, so I decided to “put a stake down” as my father says, and commit to it for a year.
On January 1, 2010, I committed to growing closer and stronger in all of my relationships. It was, and is hard and there were many rocks in the road and ruts and the trail, but I did accomplish to some degree what I set out to do. I have, through the power and grace of God, been able to shift a lot of the focus off of me and on to the people I work with every day. I am far from perfect, and still just a shell of what I would like to be, but I know that God will help.
Did you notice the subtle shift to present tense? Well I guess it would be important for you all to know that it is time for round two, just this time I am going to rephrase it. This year I commit to building and strengthening edifying God honoring relationships for the bettering of God’s people, no matter the difficulty. I need some accountability, so if you see anything that I could change or work on, give me a shout.