Monday, January 9, 2012


From Susan Hillis:

Focus on the People We Are With

So, I started 2012 having one of our sons feeling upset with me because I am a hypocrite. Here's the story of what was going on in our home a week ago, on January 1: 

"Vasya," I said, "you are usually respectful, obedient, and kind, and honestly, do a better job than anyone else in the family at honoring daddy and me as your parents. But lately I have noticed that you seem to want to argue and talk back, and even ignore me sometimes when I ask you to do something. This is not God's plan for how sons relate to their mom and dad; do you realize you are doing this?"
"Yes, I do," he replies.
Susan and three of her boys
"Do you know why you have been treating me this way?" I ask.
"Yes, I know why."
"Do you think you can you tell me why?"
"Yes, I can tell you. Mom, you tell us all the time when we pull out our cell phones at the dinner table to 'focus on the people we are with and not with the people who we are not with.' But then here we are playing cards and you are so distracted by your computer and your texting and facebook, that you don't even know when it's your turn. You don't even know what suit led, and you don't even know what card to play. It is wrong that you are doing exactly what you tell us NOT to do! You get so upset with us when we are on our cell phones at meal time!"

I am pretty impressed that Vasya can actually identify what is behind this oppositional behavior, so highly out of character for him.
"Vasya, you are AMAZING! I was wrong to be so distracted when we were playing cards. You know meal time is a very important family time for me, but I just honestly didn't even stop to think that playing games is, for you, probably the most important kind of family time. Is it?"

"Yes, Mom," Vasya says, "I really enjoy our time playing games together. And with you and your problem being on the cell phone texting when we play games, it's not just today - you do it all the time when we play cards."

"Well, Vasya, I am going to try to change my ways," I promise, smiling. "And I am really sorry, and so proud of you for being able to talk about how much this has been bothering you. It is so common that big divisions form in our relationships with people we are really close to, because of something relatively small that upsets us, but then we don't talk about it. So often if we can just talk out our differences, we can work them out and get rid of the distance that tries to separate us. This is something you will need to keep doing your whole life. Hey, if I try to change and quit being a hypocrite, do you think you can go back to being your kind, respectful self with me?" (It is so important to model asking and receiving forgiveness to our children. Otherwise, how can we expect them to do the same?)

He smiles that big smile of his, "Yes, I think I can do that." 

And I did. And he has.

We often ask our kids what the one quality is that most determines a person's potential to be a strong leader. Brian and I both think that being 'teachable' is probably at the top of the list. I just love it when we get to model that quality, as in this story. And I love it when our children teach us!
"Pass on what you have heard from me to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others." (II Tim 2:2).  

Passion 2012
So let me explain to you what I was doing on January 1 when I was soooo distracted!  I was trying to print out our Passion 2012 tickets for some of our kids and their friends (a huge conference of 45,000 college students at the Georgia Dome!....);  then I was trying to find an extra ticket so I was texting a ton and on facebook to try to do that, cause it started January 2 and they are sold out! 

I will close with this "How Great is our God" video link of worship leaders from around the world singing this song in their own languages, ending with the Watoto Childrens choir from Uganda, representing the 50 million children in Africa who have been orphaned from disease or war. What a wonderful reminder of God's power to redeem suffering of those who have lost their families, by giving them a voice and a future and a hope! I wager to bet that my eyes were not the only ones that were wet as their radiant faces sang "How Great is our God."


  1. What a cool story about your son, and such a good reminder.

  2. Dear Jerusha - Thank you so much for the kind comment! I have been thinking that with starting 2012 as a hypocrite, I can probably only go up from here!