As my son turns 5…

A friend of mine, Nevin Adams, was inspired to write today because his son just graduated from high school.  As the Editor-in-Chief of PLANSPONSOR and PLANADVISER, he had some sage advice for young adults as they enter the workforce.  His list of ‘exhortations’ is prompting me to write a letter to my son as he is turning 5.  I wrote one earlier this year and it was my intent to periodically do this for him.  I think this is a pivotal year, as he begins kindergarten and is less of a baby and more a regular boy.  Well, that has been the case for a while but I am confronted by it more often now.

I am going to lift a few standout points here from Nevin’s list (you can read it in its entirety here) and continue with a few of my own:

If you wouldn’t want your mother to learn about it, don’t do it.

Never miss a chance to tell someone “thank you.” This can be a friend, a teacher or anyone who you see helping others.

You’ll fall in love more than once – or at least think you have. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but that girlfriend you have in preschool, she’s just the first one.

Hug your parents – often.

Listen. It is better to listen than talk.  Learn what you can before telling others your opinion, then don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Smile.

Read. You can expand your horizons without leaving your home!  I cannot stress this one enough.  You should anticipate that learning will happen throughout life, not just in the classroom.

Teamwork comes in handy off the playing field.

While winning is good, you will learn a lot from losing. Some of our biggest lessons come from our most difficult challenges.

You can learn a lot from Dr. Seuss. He communicates well with a limited vocabulary.  He has an extensive imagination. He finds fun ways to share life lessons—read those books again when you’re older.

Life is about to change for us, especially for my son, this year.  I hope that he continues to enjoy life as he adjusts to more rules, a schedule, and the pending grades.  His carefree life is about to be a thing of the past.

Save

A Spiritual Rebirth, Writing Renewal

This is both a discussion of procrastination and spiritual exploration.  In April, we went through the Easter season.  At that time, I read an article by Jeff Goins entitled “Why Writers Must Practice Resurrection.” Among other things he wrote: “When you write, you share a piece of you with the world. You put your very soul on display for all to see.” I began thinking about how different parts of my life might merge at this time.  I’ve been trying to write more regularly with limited success.  I am currently job hunting.  And, I have not set foot in a church in quite some time.  There has been a void in my spiritual life.  These things may not be connected but I do think that if I fix the spiritual void I’ve felt, I will see success in other areas.

I have not been attending church regularly for a number of years.  The simple act of going to church helps at a minimum because you can learn new things.  Whether or not they stick, whether or not one continues to study the Bible, is up to the individual.  A greater sense of community is also good and I’ve participated in ‘small groups’ over the years that provided me with more spiritual development.  This has all been lacking lately.  I did start reading a book on devotions but even that has not been a routine effort.  But, Jeff’s post in April did spark something in me and as a result I have begun church shopping.

On Easter morning, I happened to catch “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” where Tim Keller, from New York, was featured.  This minister spoke to me even though it was via the television.  He touched on the polarization of secularism and devout religion that has been growing in the U.S.  He pondered the essence of sin.  He suggested we stop demonizing each other as has become common practice.  This connects particularly with politics when one side of an issue decides the other is not only wrong but evil.  He proposed that churches should play a role in creating individuals who know how to talk civilly, that churches should teach people humility and graciousness, and that they ought to serve people in their communities.  These are the sorts of lessons I am hoping to hear at my home church.  Now if I could only find it!  The search began that day.

I attended one Methodist church on Easter Sunday and returned to it to see what a regular service was like.  Then, I visited a Lutheran church service.  These were in stark contrast to one another.  The Methodist church was much more formal in all regards (some men wearing suits) and, as a result, I was not particularly comfortable.  On the flip side, the contemporary Lutheran service was at the other end of the spectrum.  I liked the pastor there.  I’m going to head back for one of the church’s traditional services.

Interestingly, both ministers touched on how we conduct our lives in a “messy” world.  I liked some of the descriptions that one used: the thought of heaven and God being nearer to us than someplace so very far removed.  And, that from our current perspective, we see the loose threads rather than the finished design of the tapestry (of life).  It was a reaffirmation of the need for faith in God while we make our way through this life.

Back to my opening line: I have been thinking on these things and considering whether or not to write about spiritual exploration.  It does not fit with previous posts and I tend to not talk about faith in my work life.  This blog is somewhere in between my professional and personal worlds and I was not sure about venturing into this area.  So I have not written at all.  But now I have made some progress and am turning a corner creatively.  Wish me luck as the journey continues.