Parenting: Good-night Words

Good night words to a child ought to be the best of words, as they are words of greatest potency. The last waking thoughts of a child have a peculiar power over his mind and heart, and are influential in fixing his impressions and in shaping his character for all time.
-H Clay Trumbull

Parenting Good night words

Before Eleanor arrived and since her arrival, in small talk, folks seem to gravitate to a common place. In jest, advice, and curiosity Eleanor’s sleep seems to be thee topic of interest. It became clear to Jamie and I that this was an important issue before Eleanor came to us and so we asked and sought out and knocked on the door of scripture, books and friends to learn.

Here are some of the larger takeaways from Mr. Trumbull’s chapter on laying a child down to rest:

  • This is an hour unlike others in a child’s day where they are particularly left to themselves and so a child craves sympathy and appreciates kindness and is grieved by harshness and cold neglect at this hour where they are most alone.
  • Children are particularly malleable just before they sleep and so it is at this hour that a parent’s word and presence are most potent.
  • A wise parent will prize this hour as the golden hour of good impressions on the child’s heart. There should be no severity then, no punishment. Every word should be one of gentleness and affection.
  • The last waking thoughts of a children’s are of particular importance in the shaping of the child’s character through all time.

Eleanor has nearly outgrown her bassinet and so we are preparing her for her crib. A bedtime blessing was prepared. In our studies on sleep we found there are some 139 verses on sleep in our Bible. Most all of them point to this idea of trusting in a God who is worthy of our trust. I believe Mr. Trumbull came to a similar conclusion through his studies and perhaps that is what lead him to include this story in his chapter on good night words:

A sensitive, timid little boy, long years ago, was accustomed to lie down to sleep in a low “trundle-bed,” which was rolled under his parents’ bed by day, and was brought out for his use by night. As he lay there by himself in the darkness, he could hear the voices of his parents, in their lighted sitting room, across the hallway, on the other side of the house. It seemed to him that his parents never slept; for he left them awake when he was put to bed at night, and he found them awake when he left his bed in the morning. So far this thought was a cause of cheer to him, as his mind was busy with imaginings in the weird darkness of his lonely room.

After loving good-night words and kisses had been given him by both his parents, and he had nestled down to rest, this little boy was accustomed, night after night, to rouse up once more, and to call out from his trundle-bed to his strong-armed father, in the room from which the light gleamed out, beyond the shadowy hallway, “Are you there, papa?” And the answer would come back cheerily, “Yes, my child, I am here.” “You’ll take care of me tonight, papa; won’t you?” was then his question. “Yes, I’ll take care of you, my child.” was the comforting response. “Go to sleep now. Good night.” And the little fellow would fall asleep restfully, in the thought of those assuring good-night words.

A little matter that was to the loving father; but it was a great matter to the sensitive son. It helped to shape the son’s life. It gave the father an added hold on him; and it opened up the way for his clearer understanding of his dependence on the loving watchfulness of the All-father. And to this day when the son, himself a father and grandfather, lies down to sleep at night, he is accustomed, out of the memories of that lesson of long ago, to look up through the shadows of his earthly sleeping place into the far-off light of his Father’s presence, and to callout, in the same spirit of childlike trust and helplessness as so long ago, “Father, you’ll take care of me tonight; won’t you?” And he hears the assuring answer back, “He that keepeth thee will not slumber. The LORD shall keep thee from all evil. He shall keep thy soul. Sleep, my child, in peace.” And so he realizes the two fold blessing of a father’s good-night words.

When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid:
Yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
– Proverbs 3:24

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep:
For thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
– Psalm 4:8

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
From whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD,
Which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:
He that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper:
The LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil:
He shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in
From this time forth, and even for evermore.
-Psalms 121

Trusting in the LORD is a beautiful thing. From my studies, I have come to believe that so much of my sin has come from wanting things for myself. Adam and Eve in the garden; the apple, a way to say “If I have the knowledge I won’t need God. I will make my own way. I won’t need to depend on the LORD.” What a complicated mess. A simpler way to rely completely on the LORD. To trust completely in the LORD for He is completely trustworthy. May our children know that the LORD always watches over them, that He alone is enough for them, that they can trust in Him in all things and sleep sweetly and always go in peace.

-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 appreciate

Parenting: Will Training, Rather than Will Breaking

We should guard sacredly [our children’s] privilege of personal choice; … The final responsibility of a choice and of its consequences rests with the child, and not with the parent.
-H Clay Trumbull

parenting training

Mr. Trumbull suggests that it is a parent’s responsibility to train a child to be and do what they should be and do, rather than what they want to be and do. He goes on to say that each child may have a special lack that need be stimulated and that each child may have a trait in excess that need be restrained; and that to know the child’s needs and train them accordingly is the duty of the parent.

Mr. Trumbull’s concept of will training is one I find most prudent. This idea that the will of the child is to be trained and by no means broken. I have come to believe God has given us all free will and that no one would do well to take this away from another; even a parent a child; perhaps especially a parent a child.

Many people have issue with the ills of this world. Why do bad things happen to good? and so on. In my estimation God understands His creation, He understands what is needed, and He understands the ills of this world worth the price for a true love. While I may not, He does. God says to us “My will or yours?” The choice is ours. God does not force us to obey him. We obey Him because we love Him; because He first loved us. As the Creator, His creation is set up to His will or laws or word or what have you and I have come to believe these do well with His creation. If a self goes another way it does not do well for the fact that the creation was not created that way. It is a matter of alignment, if one is out of line it grinds the gears so to speak and thus the ills (Deuteronomy 30:15, really all of chapter 30 is better to reference). As parents we have come alongside God in creation. Through His blessing we create and have dominion over creation (Genesis 1:26-28). Put another way we have children and make the rules, “while you’re in my house…” and so forth. Perhaps we as parents might look to our Father in heaven in this matter of force of will.

I agree with Trumbull that we ought to guard sacredly our children’s matter of choice, their free will, given by God and not ours or anyones to take. That no matter our preference or our estimation of aright, in the end the choice need be theirs; and that the final responsibility of the choice and its consequences ‘rests with the child, not with the parent.’ And still the parent must use every good measure to train their child to do what they should. What then are we to do when the child’s will is not in order? When their will does not align.

Are not most standoffs a matter of control? A parent wants their will done, the door shut let us say. So a quick command is given, “Shut the door.” The child feeling that their will is threatened, wants to stay in control of themselves and is inclined to say no. This is not about the door. At this point there is a standoff of wills. The fathers to the child’s and thus an issue is created, the showdown, the battle of the wills. Another way is to take care not to give a command. Rather, “I should like the door shut, would you please shut the door?”. The choice is theirs, their will is not threatened and your will is still clearly stated. Still the child may say no for they have that choice in the matter. What then?

As God gives us free will, the choice in every matter, so I believe we ought to give our children that same. Your will or mine, your choice. As the creation is set up with consequences so also I believe ought the choices of a child have their due consequences. In life when someone makes a poor choice there are consequences. Often those consequences do not set on right away and one can venture so off the right course before they realize the matter that they find themselves with a long hard journey back to right. Choose not to brush your teeth before bed today and tomorrow there is not much the matter. The next day, the same, not much doing. The next week, no problem. They next year, and now there may be a serious problem that could stay with all the way on. A parent’s responsibility is to expedite the consequence of poor choices, so the path back to right is as brief can be. In the matter of the child who chose not to obey his father, the father may say to himself “what would come of a person who chose not to obey those in authority over time?” He may come to the conclusion, “Why they may end up incarcerated if this habit of choice perpetuates to adulthood.” The father may then chose to help the child understand this consequence in expedited fashion by way of a time out. He then presents the child with a reasonably good or a reasonably undesirable outcome and lets the child choose. “I must let you have the choice of this matter. You can either shut the door or take a timeout, the choice is yours, what will it be?”

 

-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.

 

Collaboration vs Coordination

Value proceeds progress

collaboration vs. coordination

Have you ever found yourself in a team environment that goes no where? Nothing gets done. A committee perhaps. When I find myself in these situations I make it a point to talk about a truth that I have discovered. A saying I have adopted. A practice of habit and method of working with others I use. I have found that it clears these situations up quite nicely. People get it. People respond to it. In my experience it has breathed hope and life back into these gatherings which showed so much promise at setting out but somewhere along the way took a wrong turn. It is sometimes a hard pill to swallow for those that are not all that interested in doing any real work. Everyone who wants progress rallies around it and progress is what is had if it is adopted. Here it is. Value proceeds progress.

I was recently approached by The National Society of Leadership and Success to do an interview for content to push out to their members. During the interview I was asked what lessons I had learned about collaboration. I shared with them something I learned while in the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program at Illinois State University. While there I had the privilege of studying under Dr. Steven Taylor. Dr. Taylor is brilliant, an academic’s academic. I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from him. Dr. Taylor was also an incredible teacher. That is, I learned new and highly valuable skills and adopted them as habits under his instruction. Dr. Taylor taught me many valuable things and one of the most valuable was the difference between collaboration and coordination.

  • Collaboration. In my estimation, the goal is getting all the information on the table.
  • Coordination. In my estimation, the goal is getting the work done. You do this. I’ll do that. Let’s go.

In my estimation getting to ‘let’s go’ is often the issue that committees struggle with. So I want to talk just a bit about getting to ‘let’s go’, which is where I have come to believe all the progress happens.

Value proceeds progress. Value propositions. The language of business. A deal. A proposed exchange. These are what are needed for progress. If there are no value propositions there will be no progress. Ideas will never reach their potential until a value proposition for executing them is made. Let me present a, hopefully, simple and adaptable example in an effort to make things clear and useful.

An idea that a certain set of stakeholders would benefit from a certain thing. Let us say a community wants a park. Ok so people are gathered to talk about the park. Quickly, often too quickly in my experience, the conversation turns to preference. Should it go here or there or have this or that. Preference is a wonderful thing in the free market do no misunderstand me. What I am saying is that a group of people talking about their preferences in a room will go on and on and there will be no progress on the park. Someone in the group must do the work to frame up a plan and present it. Make a value proposition to the group. This is how to speak business. Bill stands up and says “I should like to propose the following plan: I will research and identify grants, Susie will then write the executive summary for our grant application, which Sam will then use to get letters of intent to match dollars at a 1:4 ratio from these or those organizations and Mary will put the application together and come back to the lot of us to answer the grantor’s questions until it is through.” Then Bill says the magic words, “who is in?”. And what results is progress. If the group is in. They act in coordination. If the group is not in, they will have identified one way not to create a light bulb as it were. At this step, no matter if Bill’s proposition is the best, hopefully the group will realize the sacred nature of the proposition that Bill has made. The sacred language of business. Proposal. Acceptance, denial or counter offer. Now the group has a place from which to start. A spark in coming to a proposition that a team can commit to, hold eachother accountable to, and focus on the results thereof.

This has gone on too long. Here is a sound byte from the interview that was shared with the members of The National Society of Leadership and Success. I have permission to share a short snippet of it, for the full interview one need be a member.

 

 -A takeaway from an internrocket.com press interview

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

A Journal Entry: When to Talk

let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
-Saint James

When to talk and when to listen

I have come to keep a journal. Reflections on the day and so on. This morning in my time set aside to blog, thoughts of reflection on a topic that has gone unanswered too long and an idea of resolution consumed me to journal instead. So this week I will share this entry. Names removed, adding in verses for and some of my thoughts that did not make their way to the entry for context, etc:

5.2.15

In the past I have not been sure as to the volume of my speech. In business settings, in the past I have felt like I, in general, have ideas I think will help. So I have always erred the side of sharing them. That said, I have been mindful of God’s word that encourages us not to speak hastefully and in great volume. It has been a point of uncertainty for me. The balance of volume my speech. Should I talk or should I remain silent? Is this a point of pride? That everyone must hear my idea because my idea is so good? Yesterday I had breakfast with one of my mentors. My struggle on the matter came up as we talked about James 1:18-20:

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

I have come to believe this to mean that if we are going to be God’s firstfruits amongst His creatures, if we are going to serve and love our fellow; the formula to make that possible is to be swift to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath. We need to listen to be positioned to love others well. It does not say “do not speak” it says to “be slow to speak.” This I think helps us focus on listening. The opposite thinking about what we are going to say and waiting for the first opportunity to speak, I do not think is slow to speak but rather quick for we have already spoke to ourselves and are just waiting to privy others our thoughts. The question I asked him was how does this work with the gift of speaking and teaching and sharing understanding. He looked at me and smiled. He gave no answer. No word left his tongue. Interesting. Perhaps now I think he may have been teaching me a lesson after all. After breakfast he and I went to visit an old friend of my fathers that was in town from the city on a case, he is a God fearing lawyer, his father was too. I asked him this same question after talking about James 1:19. He said that it was a tough question that he had no answer. He did however afford me a piece of advice his father gave him. ‘It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.’ That is, as I took it, when in doubt remain silent. Still my dilemma remains for my confidence soars in conversation that a particular idea should be shared for the service of those there. Not to my glory of course, that I rescue them with my idea or some nonsense, but instead, should what is shared help; glory be to our God who makes all things known, the Creator of all ideas. I was mowing the lawn last afternoon, preparing our home for a dinner with the families of two business partners where we planned to discuss how to help another in a new venture. As I was mowing the lawn reflecting on the day, I came to this bit of advice that my fathers friend passed to me from his father. ‘When in doubt remain in silence.’ Then a thought flashed in to my mind. 1 Peter 4:10-11:

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

In my estimation, if you are speaking for the LORD in service of your fellow, then speak as it is your duty. This, I think, is when the doubt is removed; that point of balance I had been searching for. When to talk. My father’s friend said something else that I think answers the ‘if’ of the qualifying question above. That is; discerning if you are speaking for the LORD in service of your fellow. I am doing my best to recall and paraphrase his comments, ‘I thrive in hardship.’ He said, ‘It is good for me. To be humbled and know I rely on God. I have no humble bone in my body. God brings me to my knees.’ This sort of revelation has been reoccurring to me as of late years. My complete reliance on God. On God’s Spirit to show me what to do. I think now, God willing, my dilemma in speech will draw me closer to God. Practicing the presence of God. God give me discernment and faith with wisdom, understanding, knowledge. I need Your help God. I depend on You moment by moment. Draw me near You God and draw near me. Show me what to do.

A quick programming note: I want to clarify something that was clear in my mind when writing in my journal but could be taken for granted here. And when I say clear in my mind I do not mean that I have figured this out, only that I have come to believe these things important. These things are things that if, should you believe you are to speak, I do not think should give way to manners and other proverbs addressing our speech. Things like talking in definitives or otherwise squaring off that you are in the right, interrupting and other forms inserting yourself when another is speaking, or dominating a conversation as to not let another contribute. 

 

-A journal entry on speech

  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.

Power Under Control

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
-Matthew 5:5

meek power under control

I was recently approached by the National Society of Leadership and Success to do an interview. The interview would later be sent to their over half million members across the country. It was quite an honor to be asked for advice on leadership and success. Praise God! During the interview I was asked for advice on leadership, collaboration, and passion. And at the end of the interview I was asked if I had any last, one piece of advice for the leaders of tomorrow. I talked about Matthew 5:5:

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

Members in this society get advice from leaders such as Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard; Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, 107th Mayor of New York City. Speaking amongst leaders with such depth of experience, it was my estimation that the only way I could pass muster was to turn to the Bible. This was my closing one piece of advice to the leaders of tomorrow:

As members of this society, you all are getting more powerful all the time. You are learning and applying advice from some of the most successful leaders in world. The only thing left to do is stay under control. If you stay under control you will get it all. That is my version of Matthew 5:5; blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Meek is a word that is often misunderstood. Meek is power under control. The word picture to think about here is a snorting war horse, but with a bit in its mouth. Extremely powerful and under control. Unbridled power will not end well. Stay under control and you will get it all.

In closing, let us think about this word picture a bit more and where it comes from. First its origin. Our english meek is the closest we have to the original in the greek. Praus, in Greek was used to describe a war horse that had learned to obey immediately and absolutely, amidst the great chaos of battle.

A snorting stallion prepped for war. Imagine with me one state: trampling underfoot. Charging and crushing the enemy. Another state: trotting right past another friendly. Imagine seeing the war horse pass before battle on friendly lines. Being close enough to reach out and touch it. Feeling the earth tremble under the force of its hooves. The respect given the animal. One would understand the power of the beast. Thank God for the bit controlling it moment by moment. For unbridled it would wreck havoc. At a moments notice the order can change and the stallion obeys. God be our bit, let Your spirit lead us and show us what to do. May we listen, hear and obey.

 -A takeaway from an internrocket.com press interview

-A takeaway from a study in Matthew 5:5

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