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Can I Change my Kids

August 1, 2008

There seems to be this overarching need to control others.  Have you noticed that?  Yeah, me too.  I’ve determine that this stems from unresolved issues in one’s life.  My inability to get my own desk, email, closet, car, family, life, addiction – whatever – in order, leads me to tell you how live.  Why?  I don’t know.  I guess it’s because I want to seem something in my life that is under my control.

I can’t even get my dog to obey me, why would I think I could take on someone whose IQ is closer to mine?

Yes, even I have been accused of being controlling.  In fact several years ago an organization I was working with didn’t want to give me the “Director” title, because one person complained about my tendencies to control.  They wanted to call me the “coordinator of coordinators.”  Sheesh!  Like that would change my job description.

It turns out it wasn’t me, but the complainer’s issues with authority.   But she went on to become a famous neurologist, so I guess she doesn’t have to worry about anyone telling her what to do anymore.

My inability to control others the world, led to some deep-seated rage.  Usually the rage was only uncorked when I was behind the wheel of my ginormous 4WD pickup.  You know, the one with the huge tires, shiny wheels, and big chrome roll-bar with aircraft landing lights on top.  Yeah….  I hate to admit it, but I was that guy.

The anger of a victimized childhood, coupled with the stress of a dysfunctional family, and then the rage of people not doing what I determined to be the right way to do things – well, it wasn’t working.  The problem was, I didn’t know it was working until my wife left me.  Well, even that didn’t help too much.  I had to wallow in the whole sex, drugs, and rock’n roll phase for nearly a decade.  Then I woke up.

As I began to pull my head out of my back-side, I stumbled across a fantastic bit of wisdom.  Maybe you’ve seen it?

That’s what I needed.  Serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  And basically that is almost everything in my life except the icons and desktop theme on my computer.

Courage to change the things I can.  Wow, about the only one I can control is myself, and even that isn’t too easy.  Until I get my own life mastered, I really have no business seeking to change others – or other systems.

Ooh, wisdom.  Sweet, sweet wisdom.  The wisdom to know what I can and cannot change. Ok, maybe I can just start here.  Before I begin to question someone, or seek to “adjust” them, I take a moment and evaluate my potential for success.  It only takes a moment before I realize that the only thing I really have control over is my own attitude.

The passage goes on to say:

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace…

One day at a time.  Yeah, a little easier said than done, I admit.  But it certainly takes the urgency, stress, frustration, and regret out of one’s heart and off of our shoulders.  Living in the moment, a great Zen-Buddhist principle that was actually taught by Jesus also.  We have so forgotten this principle.

I often have to go to some mountaintop to listen to the wind blow through the trees, or watch the stars twinkle overhead, before I remember to live in the moment.

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace?  Really?  No way!

We are a society that does everything it can to avoid pain.  The very idea that this pain would bring peace into our lives is perposterous!  Oh yes, we have so much to learn.

My role, one of many, as a Dad, is to allow them enough freedom to experience pain, but not enough that they would be crushed.  At the same time, I know that I can never control them.  I can enourage, model, and empower, but control kills their sweet spirits.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the children I cannot change,

The courage to encourage the child that I can;

And the wisdom to know the difference.

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