Parenting: A Child’s Faith

As soon as a child is capable of learning that his voice can be heard by his loving mother or his loving father in another room, he is capable of learning that his voice can be heard by a loving Father whom he has never seen; who is always within hearing, but never within sight; who is the loving Father to his father and mother, as well as of himself and of everybody else; who is able to do all things, and who is sure to do all things well.
-H Clay Trumbull

parenting a childs faith

Mr. Trumbull suggests that the first lesson is that a child is to have faith in God. An important distinction is made that this is different from having faith something else, say in prayer. He believes that faith should rest wholly and absolutely on God and God alone. For example, let us say that a child is told to have faith in prayer and that God can do all things. Then let us say a child prays for a certain so-and-so and receives it, his faith in prayer is then increased. But let us say a child prays for a certain so-and-so and does not receive it, what is of his faith then? Is the child left to question God? Mr. Trumbull believes the child’s faith was misplaced. Instead he urges parents to consider that faith be placed in God alone.

If, however, on the other hand, you plainly tell a child that God knows what is best for us better than we know for ourselves, and that, while God is glad to have us come to Him with all our wishes and all our troubles, we must leave it to God to decide just what He will give to us and do for us, the child is ready to accept this statement as the truth; and then his faith in God is not disturbed in the slightest degree by finding that God has decided to do differently from his request to God in prayer.

Since taking Jamie as my wife and now with the arrival of Eleanor Jean, God has continued to show me more and more about Himself. Praise God that He seeks to let us know Him! Throughout the Bible God shows us Himself. We learn what He is like, to the best of our ability. In Ephesians chapter five we learn that the marriage relationship is like Christ’s relationship with the church. All throughout the Bible we are shown that God is our Father in heaven and so we learn that the relationship between God and us is like that of a parent to a child. What is so interesting about all this to me is that when we consider advice from Mr. Trumbull on faith and on prayer we are considering advice on how to relate to God. How to trust and how to communicate. So in my estimation, inherent in this advice is how our children should relate to us and our responsibilities to them.

And so we receive a lesson in how we are to trust our heavenly father and place our faith in him and not in ourselves actually, as would be if we thought something of the sort “why, that this-or-that I prayed for didn’t come to, and after all I do know what is best for me. Who else would?”  When thought about and considered a bit, I think, placing faith in prayer is like placing faith in our own estimation of what is right for us. And so in this same lesson Mr. Trumbull gives to us an understanding of how a child ought to follow his parents in spirit, knowing that, as the old saying goes, “father knows best”.

My son, keep thy father’s commandment, And forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, And tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; When thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; And when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; And reproofs of instruction are the way of life: -Proverbs 6:20-23

-A takeaway from Hints on Child Training by H Clay Trumbull

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Trust and Value

[Trust is] the foundational principle that holds all relationships.
-Stephen Covey

trust and value

Trust is the pipeline through which all value moves. I recently wrote on value and the need for value propositions to be made if progress is to be expected. Trust, in my estimation, is a key element in value exchange. Here is the flow as I see it. Imagine a pipe. Through the pipe flows needs and wants in one direction. After, in the opposite direction, flows value. And then consideration returns. Now imagine with me a pipe the size a drinking straw, the cocktail sort. For some reason the other trust is not there. Needs and wants are restricted. The other is guarded with their desires. They not think it in their best interest to open up and share. The result. The first has not the opportunity to help. Even what little they gleam, the straw so small can only receive value in step. Of course consideration is in proportion to value and so the whole thing, the whole process lackluster. Leaving both feeling of what it should have been.

Now image with me a pipe so grand in diameter. Needs and wants are freely shared. Even a hint of a desire is known the other before it is solidified. And value, oh how it can move through this pipeline. Consideration always in proportion leaves both feeling impressed. To put it simply: the more trust; the bigger the pipe. The bigger the pipe; the more desires, value and consideration, which all are in proportion to each other, can flow. It all starts with trust.

Trust, in my estimation, is fundamental to relationships. And business and partnerships are simply relationships. If you ever hear something of the sort, “nothing personal, it’s just business.” This is a hint, in my estimation, that someone does not understand how to move value. That they do not understand business at all.

Are you spending the time building trust that is needed in your business relationship to reach your organization’s goals? How would you measure trust? Perhaps our receipts is a good place to start?

 

-A takeaway from a Mavidea client website UX meeting

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

The Two Things

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader success is all about growing others.
-Jack Welch

 jesus-washing-apostles-feet-39588-wallpaper 2

I was asked in an interview “since setting out in business, what lessons [I’ve] learned in leadership?” I shared what I call the two things. They are simple. Simple to understand. Simple to remember. Simple to see why these two things are it. Still they are not so simple to enact without fail. They take sacrifice. Sacrifice at a fundamental level. They take us out of ourselves. Away from us. Less self and more others. A good friend of mine taught me what leaders do. Leaders do two things:

  1. Leaders lead by example
  2. Leaders serve those they lead

Search your experiences and you will hopefully find a leader in your life who does these two things well. One thing to mention here is that anyone can lead. Power is not needed to lead. Authority is not needed to lead. Though power and authority will accrete to those who follow these two things.

Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. – Chinese Proverb

The point duck in formation serves by example. Those that follow benefit from drift. Do you want to be a leader? Are you doing these two things?

 

 -A takeaway from an internrocket.com press interview

 As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

God willing

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
-King Solomon

God willing

James is a most useful book for Christians who want to learn how to act. In it James writes to newly Jewish-Christians and explains just that; as followers of Christ, how are we to live. There are many practical things in this letter. As a business person here is one that I have come to believe is important to practice.

In business there are plans. Plans to do this and to do that. When we speak about the future as Christians I think we need to understand the power of our words. As a quick side note please consider reading James chapter 3 for a better understanding on how our words can change the course of our whole life. Back to it then. In business we are called to speak of the future, to lead a team to a better place in time. James shows us how we are to do this in James 4:13-15:

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

It is my estimation, that as Christians we are called to uphold God’s reputation. Here James also tells us not to boast in the future but humble ourselves and to submit it to God. Admit that it is subject to God’s will. This I have come to believe is a way to uphold God’s reputation. Here is an example of what I am trying at:

Whenever we talk about the future may we honor God. Let this remind ourselves that God is in control. Let this proclaim our belief that our future rest in God’s hands that others would know that we belong to God. The Creator of all.

 

-A takeaway from a study in James 4:13-15

-A takeaway from a study in Proverbs 27:1

-A takeaway from a study in Jeremiah 9:24

-A takeaway from a study in 2 Corinthians 10:17

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Theological Virtues: Faith

“[Faith] is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.”
-C.S. Lewis

Faith

I have for some time now felt a sense of faith being: doing what you say you will do. That is, a man is faithful if he does what he says he will. He is faithful to his word. All along, at the same time, I felt there was much more to it. After a study on this virtue I think there is.

Still I think my former understanding holds true. A man who says he will so and so and does not, I’ve found is often a case of circumstances. “You see I would not have said I would have such and such if I knew that business about the thing was just round the corner.” Some are more tolerant of circumstances than others, more determined, and so we say they are more faithful or reliant than others.

I heard Zig Ziglar tell a story that paints the picture well I think in Born to Win. The story goes like this. There was a young sailor on a ship out at sea and some weather set on rather quickly. He was directed to hurry up the mast and see to something. Taking something in perhaps before the wind blew harder for too long and damaged something I suppose. The sea had begun to toss and turn as the young sailor made his way up the mast. Looking on an old sailor noticed this young man start to sway and lose his balance. His head looking side to side and his gaze being displaced with each crash of a wave. Just before the young sailor fell, the old sailor shouted, “Look up!”. And upon looking up and setting his sights on his destination the young sailor instantly regained his balance and quite possibly saved his life.

I believe each of us need to steady our gaze as the waves of life crash in to our world. I believe this steadies us. Sets us up. Stations us as something others can lean on and depend on. Produces in us something that we ourselves need to survive the circumstances.

As Christians I believe we are called to hold to our beliefs no matter the circumstances. Not in a stubborn way, but in a consistent way. A dependable way. You see, I think the reason most tend not to prefer the man who says one thing and does another is because we can not depend on him. He fails us. And I believe that this very lack of predictability, this lack of faithfulness, is what makes it difficult for them to relate to others. How do you relate to someone whose beliefs change with the wind? How do you relate to someone who is not sound in who they are? I have come to believe you are forced to take them as they are that day and make the best of it. The issue here being that the relation is very shallow. And I do not mean, diabolical or self seeking, I mean not very meaningful. The soil is shallow, there is just not much there to work with, to relate to. After all think about it, how do you relate to someone you do not know?

Christians can not be this way. Our faith in what we believe can not change with the waves of life. Though we do not know every detail of the future we should at least know that our brothers and sisters in Christ will hold fast to their beliefs. That we also, can be depended upon to have the same view of life tomorrow as today. Not that we will always do the right thing we know right, that is another matter altogether, but that our beliefs remain. This is faith. This is what is at the foundation of deep and meaningful relation to another. Not knowing what tomorrow will bring for another but knowing how they will think about it and look at it and approach it. This can be related to. Search your deepest most meaningful relationships and you will find this. You will find faith in the other.

But faith in what? For a Christian? Christ, of course. Knowing that what He said He would do, He will. Knowing that the words of the Bible are true. Knowing that those that have not come to pass yet will. Knowing that God is who He says He is and always will be. I have come to believe that this is the cornerstone of the eternal relationship with God that we all seek.

Wrapping up this study on the Christian virtues; Faith: an unfailing knowing. Hope: a desire to fulfill. Charity: an unconditional love. This verse cries out to me like never before.

“What a person desires is unfailing love”
Proverbs 19:22a

-A takeaway from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

-A takeaway from Born to Win by Zig Ziglar

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Love and Business: Protection

[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserveres.
-1 Corinthians 13:7

Love and Business: Protection

What role does love play in business? One part often overlooked is the beginning of verse 7. “it always protects,” Sound counsel for those of us wishing to lead. A wise business man once taught me a lesson in the importance of intangibles in business. Protection, one of them, I learned is very important.

Have you ever asked for something you thought quite reasonable at an establishment only to have an employee say something of the sort “There is nothing I can do for you.”? I’ve asked this question of several people and most everyone has agreed that, yes they have. It may vary a bit, “that is the policy” or “the rules keep me from whatever” but all the same, it is there. And I have come to believe that the root of the issue is a lack of protection. I think, if I am not mistaken, it illuminates a lack of leadership. Leaders of course are called to love. And as we have learned; love protects.

When we hear these responses, and often see the frustration on even their faces, I have come to believe what they are really saying is “I am not protected.” They go on, “you see we have these rules, and if I step outside them, I am not protected. So, therefore, I can not so and so to help you.”

People want protection and they will fabricate it when it is not provided them. What other forms of protection have our teammates created to rely on when we do not protect them? Collecting a string of emails perhaps, when what was really needed was a hard conversation with a client. Or holding back their experiences, when what was really needed was the truth in a meeting. Do your teammates feel protected? If not, what is it costing everyone you are leading?

A quick stop on leadership. Leaders who have authority are, I think, more effective leaders. Still, I do not believe that one needs authority to lead. Is there a lack of protection on your team? Step in and provide it. Lead. A rather animal example but a good one I hope is afforded us from the wolf pack. There is no committee. No vote is taken up to determine the alpha. The alpha is, or perhaps became the alpha, unless I am mistaken, because when danger arose, they went and dealt with it. They provided protection.

But what of the rules, the policies? How will we get on? Policies and rules seem to me to be put in place when there is a lack of trust. When a leader can not trust a team member they place their trust in a set of rules. Let’s think about what this is costing us. I once heard the founder of redbox talk about having this very experience in a Blockbuster long before the idea for redbox ever crossed his mind. “I am sorry but I am not authorized to help you”. At that moment, a spark lit, he thought to himself ‘there has to be a better way’. Interesting. That seemed to cost them the lot.

Trust enables. It empowers. Rules and policies of the variety we are talking seem to do the opposite. They seem to create robot employees that leave our customers frustrated as though they were dealing with a sort of automated phone tree that does not work. By the way the very next part of verse 7: “[love] always trusts”, interesting.

What policies have you lobbied, even put in place? Do you think this is the best way to protect your teammates or could it be that it is your way of protecting yourself? Is it really working, or is it costing you? Verse 5 “it is not self-seeking”, interesting.

Does your business, does your team, need a big dose of love, of protection?

 

-A takeaway from an internrocket.com meeting with Arnold Lovin

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Cardinal Virtues: Fortitude

Fortitude includes both kinds of courage – the kind that faces danger as well as the kind that ‘sticks it’ under pain.

-C.S. Lewis

Marine Corps War Memorial

Fortitude from the latin fortis meaning strong. Fortitude in the english defined as courage in pain or adversity. C.S. Lewis believes that “courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.” He points out a lesson from history noting that Pontius Pilate was just until it became too risky. What good is temperance or prudence or justice if it breaks the moment it matters?

C.S. Lewis wrote of courage during World War II. Many illuminating writings on the matter come from war. From times when men are called to kill and die. And face the end of their existence in this world. In the new World War II movie, Fury, it is no wonder that when the protagonists have a chance to escape certain death but chose to stay and fight that they draw their courage from quoting aloud the truth in 1 John 2:15-17:

If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The director of the movie is quoted saying of this last chapter in the film, “It’s fascinating that, because of his faith, he’s not unafraid of dying, but he’s able to accept it and doesn’t see it as the end of the road.”

So much of what matters in life and of the virtues comes around when there is something to lose. The most so: things of self. The most of this: life. Our life. Even the life of those we love. What of the life of our only son? If we can get past this the smaller things that are so large and do so much damage; our pride, our reputation, our prospects, our preferences become much easier to let go of. This may sound jarring, but it is just life. It is just a life. Let go. Give it to God. Trust all of self with God. Let go this world and hold fast to the next. May we all fall out of love with this world and break the bonds of slavery to it. Freeing ourselves to live in peace and do the will of God.

-A takeaway from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

-A takeaway from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.