In yesterday’s posting, I did not intend to put pressure on anyone about their witness. I simply wanted to encourage people to think about their witness and their stories, and I wanted to offer an opportunity to post their stories if anyone should want to take me up on it. There is absolutely no pressure; it was simply a friendly offering. I have yet to meet any person that didn’t have something interesting to tell about themselves and their life. We tend to think that our lives are not that interesting, but as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so also is the value of our various stories. I recently watched a documentary that was proof of this truth. I found the film on Netflix. It was titled Life in a Day. This 2011 film was a project that pulled together literally thousands of clips of people’s lives from a single day in 2010, showing how they lived throughout the planet. It was intended to be a time capsule, a snapshot of our lives, to show future generations what it was like to be alive in various places around the globe on July 24, 2010. When I saw the title and read the concept, I was instantly hooked, and the film delivered everything that I expected, capturing a multicultural, multiethnic, multinational, and multi-geographical view of what a normal, daily life is like, with breathtaking diversity, for so many disparate people around the globe.
It was interesting to see what was important to each person in the clips. You could see so many themes that bind us together as human beings, regardless of where we are from. We all have many of the same dreams and ambitions, many of the same needs to get through life, a requirement for food, shelter, and safety, a need for love and family, and a need to live a life that is meaningful. If there was only one thing that you could bring away from this film, I believe it would be the realization of how alike we all are across this great planet, regardless of what we look like and how or where we live. There are so many deep, profound experiences that are common to us all. The most meaningful of these experiences for me has been parenting our children. I have had the joy, in recent years, of raising four teenagers. I know, I’ve heard all the ridiculous stories about what happens when they reach that plateau, but I have never listened to the supposedly wise people who project negativity into all things. I have found that there is no great mystery to parenting. You simply get out of it what you put into it.
If you pour lots of love and time into your children, then you will reap that love back in the many joyous experiences you will share with them as they figure out what life is about, and you will reap the joy of sound relationships as they grow older. If they sense you respect them, then they will respect you. Certainly you can command respect by force, but as a leader of people for most of my adult life, I have found that it is always better to treat people with love and respect, so that you will not have to force them to follow you; they will do so willingly. Perhaps the worst thing you can do with children is to be too controlling, wanting to dictate every detail of their lives. If you are too controlling or too critical, you will damage the relationship you have with them, and they will then begin to relish the day that they can have you out of their life. The very opposite of these attitudes is humility. Humility goes a long way in raising children. Be willing to admit to your mistakes and say you are sorry. If you want them to be well-rounded people that get along well with others in school and eventually at work in their various professions, you must show them that it is okay to admit to mistakes and to take responsibility for them. This is truly the only way to move beyond your mistakes. Be willing also to laugh at your mistakes. By doing this, you will teach your children that it is okay to make mistakes, that you should even expect to make mistakes, and that such mistakes are not the end of the world. We are all frail and flawed at one time or another, so it is best to be honest about our weaknesses. Moreover, once we have enough humility to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes, Satan does not have the big stick of pride to beat us with and control us.
I pray that each of you enjoy sound and loving family relationships and that God will repair those that are damaged.