Thursday, September 4, 2008

IF I WERE STARTING MY FAMILY AGAIN
A few discoveries well into the process that offer course corrections

ADVENTURE AHEAD. I visited a couple in the hospital yesterday and held and blessed their newborn. So tiny! So awesome! On such occasions, I momentarily envy young families. Becky and I were once there. What an adventure raising children is! Now, we're closer to seeing all four of our children launch into the world beyond our household. Abby's married, Jared's university junior, Molly's in her senior year of high school, and Sam's two years behind.

WHAT WOULD I CHANGE? Holding that infant, I had a passing wish to start our family all over again. It was just a PASSING thought. But if we did, if we could, what would we do differently? What would you do differently? My mother-in-law gave me a book several years ago by that title: If I Were Starting My Family Again... It was an insightful little volume, though I can't recall much of its contents at this time. I journaled that thought, however, and came up with a short list of things I'd do differently. I realize, of course, that these have become critical course corrections for me along the way.

If I were starting my family again, I would…

1. Empty myself of as many of my forgone conclusions, certainties about roles, notions of family norms, peer-driven behavior, selfish ambition, and other self-defeating baggage as soon as I could. What we impose on our loved ones may well limit what grace makes possible.

2. Seek to be continuously filled to the measure of all the fullness of God, getting my heart needs met this way rather than trying to make loved ones' performance the source of my satisfaction or meaning.

3. Learn to be a resource to my loved ones in their unique fight of faith, pointing them to what I've found helpful and being a support to them in their struggles.

4. Think about my family as part of the larger household of faith and Good News mission in the world, instead of self-servingly making our own household the primary focus of family meaning.

5. Cross more socio-economic and cultural boundaries more often with my family, until we become effective world Christians.


I welcome your comments and/or questions in the spirit of dialog. Share yours by clicking on "comments" just below. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

1 comment:

  1. Lee O'Connor10:14 PM

    John, I appreciate this blog as I am anticipating our baby girl. Many of your possible "changes" confirm some of my feelings on family. Many of them also gave me some "food for thought." I appreciate your heart, mind, and leadership. Hope all is well!

    Peace,
    Lee O'Connor

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