We’re not a perfect family by any stretch. We’re not the most organized, we disagree, we spend too much time in front of our private screens and eat more meals apart from one another than I’d like.
We also laugh a lot, have been to hell and back, take great vacations and do some pretty cool stuff that I never imagined we’d do. In the end, we’re us and I like us.
I had a conversation this week that caused me to reflect on what I’ve passed on to my kids. It came down to a few simple ideas, which I probably failed at modeling more than I succeeded. But, here they are.
A PASSION FOR CREATIVITY
Something special happens when we create. Whether we do it for a living or not, there is a unique expression of the nature of God that takes place when we make something that did not exist before. A written word, a melody, an image…whatever the medium, when we take what is inside and put it out for others to see, we are reflecting the character of God unlike any other activity.
A BELIEF THAT EVERYONE MATTERS
Whether or not you believe in Him, God is your biggest fan. In fact, everyone matters to God. No one should be left out, marginalized, shunned. We are in the business of creating environments where the value of people is elevated. Whether it is in churches, business, entertainment, service…people should come first always.
THE NEED TO KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN
My kids have heard me say it over and over. I don’t care whether they sling food at a fast-food chain, rise to command a naval ship or become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I want them to achieve their goals because it was one of many options available to them, not because it was the only option they left themselves. Always keep learning. Stay curious. Dream big and find out what you need to do to realize your dream.
YOUR FAMILY IS WHERE YOU STARTED, BUT NOT WHERE YOU’LL END UP
We get our values, our worldview, our experiences – good and bad – from our families. When we venture out into the world we cross paths with others who have, for better or worse, grown up in their own unique family environment. I don’t want my kids to go into the world and limit themselves to create a home environment identical to the one in which they grew up. I want them to take what they experienced and decide how they will leverage that to create something new.
GRACE IS BETTER THAN KARMA
I will never be able to say this any better than U2’s Bono in an interview with French author and music journalist Michka Assayas:
“You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that ‘as you reap, so you will sow’ stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff…That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep s—. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.”
LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE
One day some religious leaders asked Jesus what the most important commandment was. Jesus answered the question by saying that the most important thing to remember was to love God with everything you are. Then he gave them a freebie and said the second most important commandment was like the first and that was to love people. He said that all of the requirements of God’s law and the prophets were summed up in those two simple concepts: love God, love people. (Matthew 22.36-40)
What about you? What have you passed on to your kids or what did you glean from your home life?