Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Living a 'Whatever' Life

What's the standard you live by? Not the right words you say when asked random questions like this one but the real honest to goodness, walk it out every day in every way, standard you live your life by? What factors in when you make decisions? What words come flying out of your mouth in an emotionally charged moment? What influences your behaviour?

We've been talking to Dude about this topic a lot lately. We've been working on having him understand the importance of taking responsibility for his actions and decisions. It hasn't been easy; not to communicate and certainly not to enact, but we're finding our way.

This week our 52 Weeks of Giving Challenge (yes we're still doing them, even though I've not been writing about them) focuses on respect. The challenge is to learn about respect, what it is, what it looks like and how it feels to be respected and disrespected. Interesting one, considering what's been going on the last couple of weeks.

I've been struggling with how to set the parameters of respect for our kids. I don't want a list of rules for them to follow, I want them to understand  respect. This morning I found a thread that will, hopefully, begin to weave together the big picture of respect.

Every Tuesday morning I lead devotionals at Dude and Crafty's school. Several parents in the community take turns each week leading the kids in a five minute Bible focus before they start their day. Its voluntary and we do it before class starts.

So this morning, as I was walking into the school to get ready for devotions, I stumbled into the middle of a student exchange that exemplified disrespect. Honestly, I wanted to keep walking, as if I didn't hear what was said, but I couldn't. I was the adult on the scene. I had to respond. So I did.

With this incident fresh on my mind, I walked into the library and looked into the thirty eager faces waiting for my words of wisdom. The only thought I had was, "I got nothing for you." That's when the thread appeared.

I asked the kids to think of the words that are their 'go to' insults, the first thing that comes to mind when they are mad, put down, humiliated. Now, is that insult true? Is it noble? Is it just? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it good? Is it virtuous? Is it praiseworthy? Probably not. Yet, its what comes out of us first when we're under pressure. I'm guilty of this too. I have my favourite quasi swears and ripping zingers. I have a list of things that run through my mind when I'm under pressure and I can tell you, none of them are just, pure or noble.

But what if we retrained our brain? What if we decided to set our standard high? What if we only spoke words that were true and noble, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy? What if we operated our lives in relation to a standard of respect. Because that's all this is, really. Its the idea of respecting yourself and others enough to only build up and never tear down. To only encourage and never humiliate. To only extend grace and never judgement. To only bring peace and never harm.

Crazy idea, eh?

But what if? What if we lived a Whatever Life? What if?

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and f there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do and the God of peace will be with you.
~Philippians 4:8 & 9

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