Finding Common Ground

http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/publications/hks-magazine/archives/winter-2010/finding-common-ground/

We tend to identify ourselves by what are differences are. Unless we are isolated, and then we begin to find people who are similar. Play at game with me and imagine you are at a big party, with tons of different personalities in the room. There are a few outliers that will either work the room and campaign for mayor or find an isolated spot to do serious people watching, but most of us look for what’s familiar and stick with those people. We go into search mode for what we may have in common with the strangers around us, then when we find it we settle in with them.

We find those people that fit our understanding of how we see the world, then we begin picking at the differences amongst everyone else (church denominations, cliques in high school, or political parties.) For many this is where the common ground game ends. For for a few of us this is where something changes for us.

The “common ground” isn’t as common as you once thought. You’ve picked at the differences in others, and realize that those differences are suddenly more attractive than the common ground you once held so dear. Or maybe that not’s exactly true, but you find that even though you have huge differences; you also have huge agreements in other values. We’re not talking huge changes or even 180-degree turn arounds, but just enough to make you want to find common ground with those you disagree with.

I believe this is what common ground was always intended to mean; not gathering with those we agree with, but finding agreement in the opinions, thoughts, and ideas of others. If we can find common ground in the scatterings, then we’ve really achieved something. So whether it’s the first day of school, attending a new small group at church, talking to strangers in a coffee shop, or trying to get along with family members; we can all learn to find the common ground. It’s not about eliminating the differences, they are still there and for some will always be there. It’s just that now the differences take a back seat for the moment.

And if you’re a person that’s never had a ‘change of heart’ toward those you should love, maybe you should.

 

 

Letting My Kids Amaze Me

KidsBeach

I want to be surprised by my kids. Not the “Is that a snake in your hands?” kind of surprise, but something a little more meaningful. I spend a large amount of my time with these children of mine, and there is a tendency that I have to not see the amazingness that comes from them on a daily basis. It’s my prayer that I never stop being amazed by them.

Let me be amazed at how quick they learn. Seriously, if I can be patient enough to invest the time teaching them something new, they have a tendency to master it quickly. Even if it takes them weeks to learn to ride their bike, that’s still pretty remarkable.

Let me be amazed at how quickly they recover from pain. I’m a parent, but also someone that has worked with kids for over a decade. It’s often times taken advantage of, but it’s crazy how fast our kids can move past painful moments. All three of my kids process things differently, but they all process much faster than I do.

Let me be amazed at how easy they forgive. One of my best parenting gifts, is the ability to ask my kids to forgive me. And they do. Every single time. They live with a willingness to forgive those that hurt them, and that’s amazing. I’m going to need this ability in my children to parent them through the dark times of their lives, and I’m thankful for what I’ve seen thus far.

Let me be amazed by their laughs. My kids don’t always laugh at my jokes, but when they do it blows me away. I love the things that make my kids laugh. I love to hear them laugh when they makes themselves laugh. Their laughter will be missed in my house when their gone, I can’t even imagine not having the laughter.

Let me be amazed by their faith. Like all of us, they want to believe in something greater than themselves. The ability of children to quickly come to faith in the supernatural, is even something Jesus talked about. It’s amazing to watch them grow as people of faith. My oldest has started journaling, and it makes my heart joyful to see him write his prayers to a father that loves him more than I could ever hope to.

The deep-seated way humans resist divine grace helps us understand something about the fear of love. While some people fear any love, what most of us resist is unconditional love –perfect love. The reason for this is that such love demands surrender.

David G. Benner, Surrender to Love (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 46

Trophy Child: Saving Parents from Performance (Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2012)

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What a great book for parents! This is a book more about parenting motives than parenting strategies, and it will force you to answer some questions you may have been avoiding. Chocked-full of family devotion ideas, and of course since it’s a Ted Cunningham book…some practical marriage help as well. I love what David C Cook has published here, and I hope those parents out there looking for something new and unique would give this one a chance!

 

 

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