Rather than resolve, refocus
In my first book, The Attitude Continuum, I showed how our outlook is impacted by what we focus on. In other words, if I’m focused on the news a majority of the time, I will tend to have a negative view of the present and future.
The example I used in my book, sadly, was a personal one. Our son was set back one year early in his school experience. To my discredit, I viewed not the situation but the child, and treated him as an underachiever. If he had a success, I viewed it as an aberration, and any success as an anomaly. I’m certain that my attitude impacted him and our relationship.
Fortunately, I received some input that I couldn’t ignore. My wife approached me and said that my idea of success was not necessarily his, meaning that he didn’t have to live up to dad’s standard of intellect or accomplishment. Slowly, with continued input and course correction from my wife, I began to change my attitude toward our son.
The defining moment in that change occurred during an awards banquet for the soccer league. Our son was not very good and rarely played that season, but during the banquet he was called to stage where he was presented with the Sportsmanship Trophy, an honor bestowed upon the player who most exemplified the spirit of sport.
I had been fairly adept at a variety of sports, but no one ever accused me of being the best sport. Our son’s success would never have been mine, nor mine his. Yet, the joy I felt and the pride that welled up in me is still felt to this day.
My point is simple. I could have resolved to be a better father, but that would have been a hollow, half-hearted effort to “improve.” Rather, with the help of my wife, I refocused and began to see our son through a different lens; the lens of his worth and not mine.
Well, today that young boy is now a grown man with two sons of his own. The struggles are no less real and trials no less demanding, yet that young boy’s attitude continued into his marriage, and he is the most patient father I have ever seen. His boys love being with dad and are comfortable around him. And me? Well, I don’t mind saying that I’m now learning parenting from our kid.
With the New Year, it might be worth a minute to look at your relationships and, if needed, determine to refocus rather than resolve.
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. For information, visit Fellowship’s website: www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com.