Spoken words spur action. Whether it’s mental, physical, emotional, or all three, there is some type of action. Some words are commands, and spur a physical action. Some are mental, and cause you to think about something you otherwise may not have. Finally, there is the emotional spur to action. Ah, what is this action? Are the juices in our brain moving? Maybe. Does it cause us to get up and move, or take action? Possibly. Could it be both? I think that is also likely. While I have found that this blog has been a parking space for personal thoughts and issues on emotional avenue, it helps to flesh out ideas and quandaries that have been pulling at me with any of these three “actions” that I am talking about. SO, here I am again… taking a stroll on the sidewalk of a road I feel I’ve been down once before.
I have been so fortunate to have a mother that is not only ultimately wise, but also constantly sharpening and honing in on her “people skills.” You may need to know that my mother is a school psychologist and has a front-row seat for what I believe are some of the most interesting, and unfortunately disheartening families and situations. Nonetheless, she teaches a parenting class at a nearby high school every Thursday night, and I decided to sit in-
Many of the words she spoke to these parents seeking to refine who they are as parents were great, just golden! It’s nice to hear things you’ve been hearing all your life told to someone else for once. Either way, something stood out to me. I sat in this class and heard these parents speak about their kids and to be honest, all I gathered was that these parents’ words meant NOTHING to their kids. All I could think was… “How have you let this happen!? They’re kids for crying out loud, why don’t they respect you!?” I was astounded. As my mom spoke, I kept hearing mumbled words like “Not my kids,” or “psh, you should come sit in my house for a day…” Now, I’m not saying I was an angel child, BUT I respected my mother. I feared disappointing her, and I still do to this day. I want her to be proud…but these kids? I just don’t think they care.
After the class, I started peppering my mother with questions, “Mom, I LOVE all the things and ideas and concepts that you were talking about, BUT…” There was a part of me that wanted to know how she had raised my brothers and I in a way such that disappointing her was the worst punishment. Bewildered, I asked, “Mom, those parents can’t control their kids because they don’t respect them… they don’t care if they disappoint them!” With the palms of my hands turned up chest-high in front of me, I asked, “How did you raise me?!” (Again, not bragging, but I hold my mother in high regard, which is a quality I feel most children, sons, daughters should have) She responded, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It’s something that I’ve been missing in my life, both from myself, and from others.
My mom looked at me and said, “Andrew, from the time you were very young, I made good on my promises, positive, or negative.” I started thinking about what she meant. She continued and said, “when I said I was going to punish one of you boys, I did.” “Therefore, what I said is what I meant, and when I said I was disappointed in you, you knew I meant it.” Wow. I started thinking about how important that message is. Broken promises…words spoken with no action… these are the catalysts of invalidation. You cannot earn my respect when you do not act on your words, and the same is true vice versa. So, where have I been breaking promises? Where have you said something and done nothing? Can we have the capacity in our relationships to recognize that sometimes, the hard part is the act, but know in our hearts the consequence of inaction is failure? When a mother sends her little boy to go to his room to wait for a spanking, and then rescinds her decision to do so, she has failed him. She has invalidated herself to him. He has learned that she will not act on her words, and he will in turn, act on that. She knows how hard and difficult it is to hurt one that she loves, so she doesn’t act. This is where we fail. I am guilty. You are guilty.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. I have learned the hard way that specifically the hard way is the best way to do something. If it’s difficult for you, then its probably good for you! Let that message sink in to the darkest corners of your soul. Let it penetrate your deepest secrets and desires. Only through this method can you conquer your “self” for others. Until then, you’re doing a favor for nobody. The design that God has laid out before us is by no means easy. Limitations, boundaries, and borders are all different forms of self-control, however, God also asks us to be warriors in his name. He wants us to be free souls. He wants us to live unbound, and to say what needs to be said. Don’t wait another moment. Speak difficult words!
I want to now say something that will spur a reaction in you. Are you valid? Are you respected? Are there people in your life that don’t take you seriously anymore? The solution is all too simple. You have the ability to validate yourself. You can fix this! All you need to do is follow through. Sometimes it’s hard to see that the right thing to do is the absolutele hardest. Don’t avoid it. Look it straight on, dead in the eyes, and face it. Your heart will sink, but only for a moment. Life is too short for indecision.
“Indecision and delays are the parents of failure” –George Canning
Don’t stand shivering upon the bank; plunge in at once, and have it over.” –Sam Slick
Your words have the potential to be powerful. They also have the potential to be forgotten, and worth nothing. Bring value to your words. Enrich yourself and others by saying only what you mean. Follow through. Be courageous. Be valid and dependable. Lead.
I am always learning- From both situations and people that I admire and respect.