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February 20, 2019

I’ve never had an original thought in my life.  I’m not particularly proud of this, but in the interest of honesty I have to admit it.  The older I get, the more obvious this becomes.  The other side of the coin is that the older I get the less relevant being original is.  Being the first to think a particular thought is, at this stage of the game, way less important than whether or not the thought will make a difference in somebody’s life (including mine).

So nothing I write in these HomeworK blogs is in the least original.  I’ve harvested these ideas (which is pastor-talk for “stole” them) from the most credible sources I can find.  If it seems like I’m coming  up with great new ideas, well, I’m not.  I’m just re-packaging and restating what somebody else has already thought and said.

And by the way, originality is generally over-rated.

This originality thing (and lack of it) has a direct connect to building a great marriage and a great family.

American culture and society have changed fairly dramatically in the last 50 years, and some people propose that this means how one builds a great marriage and family has to change with the changing world.  You just can’t do the same things your grandparents did and expect to make much happen in the here and now.  I mean, we don’t have 3 channels in black and white on the TV any more.  We’ve got 600 channels.  On 4K, High Definition TVs that take up entire walls of the house.  Think about it.  We don’t have cords for our phones.  We’ve got this thing called the Internet that puts the entire body of human knowledge in the palm of our hands on our un-corded phones in nano seconds.  Nobody even knew there were nano seconds 50 years ago.  How could you think that with all these developments in technology, building a marriage and family would be as easy as it was back in the day?

If you’re thinking that, you’re right.  There are factors that never existed before our generation.  There are both good and bad things about how life is today, things that have never been before.  Many of these things make it more difficult to build a great marriage and family.  Especially if you want your marriage and family to be founded on God’s design.  It’s never been easier to leave the reservation of moral purity.  It’s never been harder to protect your kids from sexual predators.  If you think these things, I’m in total agreement with you.

But amid all these unique challenges and obstacles, amid all the mega changes we’ve gone through in the last 20 or 30 years, and the mega changes that are sure to come in the near term, originality isn’t always necessary to follow God’s design.  On one level, with the mega shifts of technology, life has changed, and in some ways, dramatically.  But on another level, people and people’s needs haven’t changed.  At all.  The basic things that all people have always needed haven’t changed since the days of Adam and Eve.  Really?  But what about global markets and cable TV and organized youth sports and extra curricular activities?  My kids aren’t playing with rocks and sticks any more.

And yet, your kids need essentially the same core things that Cain and Able needed from Adam and Eve.

I’ve got my own (mostly “harvested”) ideas about what these basic needs are.  I’ll share them.  But today I’m much more interested in your scratching around in your own mental files for what you think these core needs are.  I’m not talking about pressing and intense wants.  I’m talking about core needs.

What are 10 things you think your kids really, really need?  And then, of those 10 things, what 3 things would you boil it down to, if you could only work on 3 things?  You could  probably come up with 20 things that all kids need, if you thought about it for a while.  If you type “what do kids really need” into Google, you’ll get a few hundred thousand hits with all kinds of answers.  Go ahead.  Type it in and see what you think.  There’s got to be all kinds of really good stuff there.  But then come back to your life and your world and your kids.  What do they need?

Maybe the best way I could help you get to the core stuff is by asking, “What do you want to leave your kids when you’re gone?”  What do you most want to bequeath to them?  There might be some physical stuff on you list, but I’m guessing most of it will be character stuff.  What character stuff do you want your kids to inherit from you?

If I hadn’t written this, and like you was just reading it, I’d think, “That’s a good question.”  And then I’d go on with whatever was next on my to-do list.  So if you do that, I get it.  But if you can push the pause button on the other stuff and seriously contemplate my challenge, it just might make a seismic difference in your life and in your family’s future.

And if you’re married, and want to go a step deeper with this, ask and answer the same questions with your spouse in mind.  I’ve just pushed you to the deep end of the pool.  Sorry.  Not Sorry.

By the way,your answers don’t need to be original.

From → Marriage, Parenting

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