Karl and I find ourselves on road trips often, so we take advantage of the time on the road and talk, listen to music, share dreams or listen to a podcast. We’ve started investing in various marriage ministry materials to peruse and share on our marriage website. Check it out at http://www.unashamedmarriage.com.
Dr. Kevin Leman’s “Sex Begins in the Kitchen,” is our latest audio book we are enjoying. I like the way they start it, with a snippet of one of his live presentations so you can see what a dynamic and humorous speaker he is. It helps to set the tone as he reads through the chapters of this book. He covers personalities, birth orders and just the most logical thing ever: timing. He’s right, sex often does begin in the kitchen, if it doesn’t die there.
Karl and I could laugh as we remembered going through the stage where we often killed sex in the kitchen. If we had it to do all over again, there are many times he would have walked in the door, seen what I’d been through that day and said that’s it – we’re going out to eat. You need to get out of the house!
If you are looking for good books for your marriage – regardless of whether you are desperate to save it or wisely investing in your marriage – please consider Dr. Leman’s book. You’ll be glad you did.
One of the principles we’ve learned over the years in our experiment with this thing called parenting is to pick our battles. There may be a hundred things you wish your children would do differently, but in the end, there are just a handful of things that you would really invest all of your parenting resources into that you might correct them.
Greta made it easy for us this morning. Her defiance and the fire in her eyes as well as the attitude that seemed to resound with every inch of her, from her hair to her toenails, made it quite clear. This is a hill to die on. With how strong willed she is, this is going to be a serious battle.
Greta didn’t want to admit she was wrong. She struggles to admit when she is wrong. In her defense, the control part of her fun/control personality makes this difficult. Just as some folks have trouble speaking in public or being patient enough to pay attention to endless tiny details, control country personalities (with a touch of perfect) can really struggle with admitting they are wrong.
When we told Greta that we had observed the incident ourselves and saw that she was wrong and needed to admit it, she challenged us. Why should I? At the moment I felt like I was the smallest horse rancher ever facing the largest herd of wild mustangs bent on staying wild. The stubbornness that exuded from her could build an insurmountable wall to rival the Great Wall of China. Oh yes! This was an issue we had to meet head on.
It isn’t easy explaining to a 10 year old lives for the moment girl that conquering her inability to admit wrong now will serve her for the rest of her life. I have a feeling that this issue will return for many more conversations. Things that seemed to be issues yesterday now pale in comparison. But Greta’s personality has set her up to be a great leader. If she can conquer this hurdle – admitting when she is wrong – she will be a beloved leader and not an arbitrary tyrant. The world needs great leaders. Greta is fearless. The world needs fearless leaders like Greta. We are currently accepting any and all prayers on our behalf as we tackle this challenge. God help us. He created Greta this way and He has great plans for her life. He must have much faith in us that we can raise her to be the great leader He had envisioned.
My husband organized a trip for young people from our church to go to an International conference for youth and young adults. There were many amazing experiences at Generation Youth for Christ, but more than the amazing meetings and meeting people from all over the world – there was the trip itself.
Personalities not previously seen finally become known after nine people travel 14 plus hours in a van that is packed full. One way.
Traveling back home to East Texas from not so sunny Orlando, Florida, was with the knowledge learned about the personalities of traveling companions. It changed everything. We had learned about each others’ strengths as well as idiosyncrasies. We knew what to expect of each other and how to make it work better – and where firm boundaries needed to be drawn.
GYC was an incredible experience and I’m so glad that it happens again in 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. But I learned just as much on the trip itself.
My oldest son goes to a small Christian school, where he is a senior this year. The first Saturday night of each school year, there is a Junk Scramble. The four corners of the gym are stations for the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors respectively. There they set up camp, students bringing whatever they could find and whatever they think might be called for.
More than just the fun of seeing which class can be the first to bring “something reptile” to the center of the gym to the scrutiny of the awaiting judges, is the awareness of the classes getting to know each other better. In Michael’s class, I saw several times where seniors had the chance to do a little more preparation, and some of them just played basketball. In fact, it was quite obvious since each class wears a different color that night, that only seniors were messing around while all of the other classes were busy at their stations, organizing their junk and trying to be ready to quickly grab and run once the game began.
Michael reminded us that the junk scramble comes just before the election of class officers. I mentioned what I had seen and gave him some advice. Those seniors that were goofing off and messing around, don’t elect them to leadership positions. They didn’t show they were there to help and prepare. They didn’t take it seriously.a
I think the school is very wise to give the students such a fun and “ice breaker” type of activity at the beginning of the year to give students a chance to see what kind of personalities are in their classmates and who can they really count on. Perhaps more businesses and institutions should have junk scrambles for adults. Does a supervisor need to know who is up for a promotion? A junk scramble just might reveal who is working and who is not taking things seriously.
My husband was sharing some of his recent conversations with some church members, telling how prayers have been answered in some areas. He told me how he spoke very bluntly (I would say rudely) to one person and I responded, “You said that to him?” My husband of course replied, “Yes.”
I was beginning to think my pastor husband had lost his “bedside manners,” with some of his parishioners, but he continued. “He likes it when I talk in his face, because that’s the way he is. If I didn’t, he wouldn’t appreciate anything I say. It is how he communicates.”
I ran this bit of explanation through all I knew about the various church members and realized, he was right. He had taken the time to know the person and know how to best communicate with them and after praying about pastoral counsel, went for it!
It was a good lesson for me. When I really need to communicate something important to someone, do I study them and know how best to present it? Have I learned how they would be most receptive to my words? Do I take enough time to show I care about who they are to converse with them in a way that makes them feel comfortable?
Do you have an important conversation you need to have with someone? Take the time to intentionally study them and learn how you can make that conversation something they want to be a part of.
Watching the Olympics and seeing the athletes struggle and fight for the victory after years of training is not unlike parenting. For years my husband and I have struggled with, trained and even argued with our boys about understanding their little sister’s personality. She is who she is. She happens to register off the charts from “Fun Country.” Her main motivations in life are to be enjoying it with wild abandon and making sure that everyone else is also having fun, because who wants to have fun alone? We are grateful for the Kids’ Flag Page system for giving us a clearer picture of our daughter’s personality contrasted with her brothers’ more methodical and logical personalities. Last night, we won the gold medal!
The problem with people from fun country is they can leave a mess. Of course you have to get messy if you are really and truly having fun, right? Of course Greta never sees the messes she leaves behind. Anything left is nothing more than the evidence of great amounts of fun. The boys, however, love being her judges. “Quick! Look! Greta is about to make a mess. She should be disqualified from this heat because she left toys in the living room (we are still working on that with Greta). But last night, something amazing happened. Greta requested cups to do some color experiments with. Yes, all the red flags stood up and did the stadium wave to get my attention, but the former home schooling mom in me wanted to encourage her own style of learning. Matthew, only a year older but obviously so much wiser, was quick to grab the bottles of food coloring away from her and scream out a last desperate warning to his parents in the other room. “Greta is going to make a mess!”
“She’s having fun!” My husband and I couldn’t speak. We just stared at each other, wondering who could pick up their jaw and regain their composure first. Had Michael, our oldest, really said that? Was all this trying to help Greta understand her brothers and the boys to understand their sister finally getting through? Had all of those discussions about The Flag Page finally paid off? No podiums to stand on or flags coming down with music playing as we received medals and honors, but we knew in our hearts we had won! Perhaps there is hope that these three will someday be friends when they are adults.
I wonder what would happen if we all tried to understand each others’ personalities? Even if Peace Country seems to never be in the limelight, where would we be without their faithful and steady contributions? If Perfect Country never got involved, we would never get it right. We would get absolutely nowhere if it weren’t for Control Country keeping the pace and urging us on. And Fun Country? It would all be work and meaningless without this special group of people that remind us to have fun and make sure everyone gets involved, no one left out. Who knows? Maybe when you try to be a little more understanding of your boss and coworkers, you’ll also win the gold medal!