Tag Archives: parenting

Influence & Our Lil Boy

We have two kids. The 6 year old is just like me. I’ll post about him eventually, & it will likely revolve around passing on bad habits or something equally humbling. But this post is for Elliott, our gorgeous, precious, 16mo. old. He’s great. With 10 teeth, he has an incredible smile. He’s learning, growing, into cuddles, & adventurous. And just this week, he taught me something so valuable.

You repeat whatever you hear the most.

It seems so simple. Mommy talks about Daddy, & before long we heard “Da-da”. Daddy talks about Mommy, & “Ma-Ma” sticks. And along with those two staple terms, he’s got variations of these words: up (for being held), yes, no, baby, boo, mwah (to make a kissing sound), & countless indecipherable terms that I’m certain are brilliant. But for the most part, he’s learned what we intended for him to learn. But that changed this week, when he was in our living room, just all of the boys…

“Bubba”

For those from the north, this probably evokes a giggle & some slam on being southern. Go ahead, we don’t mind….

But what makes this even more precious is that he said it to Parker, his big brother. And I’ve been calling Parker “Bubba” since he was a baby. I don’t know why. I just have. And now it’s a family-wide thing. I say it. Grace says it. I’ve heard other family use it. Even a friend called our oldest “Bubba” at breakfast last week. And somehow, Elliott caught on. And he heard it enough for it to become more than a term her recognizes. It’s now a term he says. So it went from foreign to familiar, then normal to repeatable. It was great to hear. And now he says it all the time.

What are your influences?

Influence is tricky. Aristotle said that ‘We are what we repeatedly do’, but I think he may have missed the real impact of influence. Yes, what I do may very well define me, or at least my character. But what I read, hear, & take in trains me. Whoever I go to for counsel, accountability, gossip, or fun are my teachers. The inescapable reality is that we don’t control all of our influences. 

So what influences you? Do you have mentors in your life? Now I don’t mean blogs you read or podaasts you listen to. I mean, who are the people that directly lead you? No one? Go find someone. And in my experience, ask someone hugely important or impactful in your life. They just might say yes! And beyond mentors, what do you read, listen to, or spend your time on? I am in no way speaking against the fun things in life! To be transparent, I love all sports, country music, woodwork, pro wrestling, joking around, competing, winning, & going out with Grace, my wife. I am certainly not against enjoying this great life we’ve been given. But let’s be honest… If you are immersed in negativity, you become negative. If you are surrounded by hopelessness, your outlook becomes progressively more hopeless too. If you are neck-deep in relationships that promote something unhealthy, the impact is just damaging. It just IS!! I didn’t make up influence. I just want to repeat & lead positivity, hope, health & growth!!

Who do YOU influence?

Unfortunately, influence is not the exclusive property of leadership. You can be influenced by countless combinations of things, people, objects, & ambitions. And in return, you can influence countless people.

This is the one that convicts me the most. I influence my wife. I’m pouring something into my sons. I’m training the people that work with & for me. And as I prepare to send this out, I’m seeking to influence friends & strangers alike. It is daunting to think about how easily I influence anyone I come in contact with!

In my anger, influence. When I’m openly discouraged or disappointed, influence. When I’m unfocused or silly, reckless or off-center, I am an influence on the lives around me. And those people are… well, they’re people. Humans who love & hope & have plans. And in a moment, I can leave an imprint.

What will our influence imprint be?

If you’re like me, this is both encouraging & kind of a bummer. People are watching. Some of those people are learning. So it is up to me to try & control what they’re learning, & what they are learning from me is seen in my responses to life, challenges, happiness, disappointment, trials, failure, success, etc. & only I can control it. 

So be intentionally influential today. There’s a person that’s about to blurt out a “Bubba” that your life has taught them, so lead well!!

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Truth Wins

Funny story from this past week. A woman & her grandchild came into work & found our GM so they could log a complaint. In typical CFA fashion, my GM went with our company’s LAST method of conflict resolution. Listen, Apologize, Solve, & Thank… he heard her complaint that she had ordered a 12 nugget box & only got 8 in the box. And Matt was almost to the ‘solve’ stage when her granddaughter spoke up:

“Grandma, you said there was eleven nuggets in that box!!”

Of course, 11 is still not 12, so Matt solved the problem as he had intended to, but I had to repress my laughter. And the thought crossed my mind that, in some way, truth always wins.

That story is a terrible example of this idea. People ‘get away’ with exaggerations & manipulations of the truth all the time. And while karma is a nice idea, it’s just not biblical. I don’t believe in it, but I do believe in consequence… & of course, unrepentant sin carries a hefty & eternal fine. So stop lying people. It’s pointless. Even if it gets you an extra nugget or two… it makes you a liar.

Perhaps another story would be more poignant, but it is also deeply convicting to me.

Not too long ago, I saw a man that I hadn’t seen in years. And without volunteering too much family information, I cannot think of another person that has so negatively impacted each member of my family on such a personal level. So, to be frank, he’s not going to make our Christmas card list… likely, ever. And for good reason. And seeing him elicited some pretty raw emotions for me. Nothing visceral jumped into my heart, but I wasn’t hoping for a reunion. So I kept a distance & watched him grab a meal in a local restaurant I was at. Alone, he sat at a table, briefly organized his food & condiments, & then prayed. He prayed for 4 minutes, at least. And when he was done, went right to eating. He didn’t look up. Never noticed me. And was certainly not praying to draw attention to himself. He ate pretty quickly, got up, cleaned his table, & darted away.

And it hit me… Truth wins.

He has certainly merited some ill-will from a lot of people. It was years ago, but it was bad. And it has left wounds. But God doesn’t grant grace on merit. Mercy & grace are freely distributed to any who call on the name of Jesus. That’s the Truth… & Truth wins.

Presently, a dear friend & a mentor in my life is remembering his daughter, who passed a few years ago. And rightly, as well as righteously, he & his family mourn the loss. But mourning turns to joy, because Heaven is a portion of the Gospel, & the Gospel is the Truth. Truth wins.

Our son is precious. He is smart, charming, & a good-looking kid. I am already praying over the challenges that puberty may very well wreak on his cuteness. But today, & each day since he was given to us by God, has been awesome. And we are trying our best to navigate through our parenting follies to point Parker in ‘the way that he should go’. We may fail. He may not go where we point. But we’re pointing¬† him in that direction because the Bible tells us to, & the Bible is God’s Truth. Truth wins.

How does Truth impact you? I’m not asking if you merely know what ‘Truth’ I’m talking about. That’s nice, but knowing what the Gospel is means you attended a decent Sunday School class when you were younger. I’m asking about how the Truth that is the Gospel changes your mind, your thoughts, your choices, & your lifestyle.

Frankly, if you know the Truth, but you cannot point to the impact that Truth has on your life, you don’t know the Truth like you think you do. This Truth humbles your right to be offended, grants peace to your mourning, & directs the way you raise your children beyond traditions & experience.

Truth wins. Truth wins here & always.

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