The Dream of Any Good Parent
If you are a parent, odds are one of your dreams is to see your child grow up and accomplish everything they are capable of accomplishing. As a follower of Jesus, I would word it as unleashing the masterpiece God created our children to be. The phrase Unleash the Masterpiece comes from Eph 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece, created anew in Jesus to do the good works God prepared in advance for us to do (my paraphrase).
No matter what religious traditions you follow, if any, that dream ends up being somewhat difficult to fully realize. Parenting is a long row to hoe, and along the way we have successes and failures as parents who desire for our kids to become all that they can and should be – all that they were meant to be.
My wife Vicky recently shared an article from Donald Miller’s Storyline blog that was an excerpt from his book, Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation. The direct quote I have been reflecting on is:
It all reminded me of a book I read a few years ago called At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends. It was written by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the World War II general who became president. I’ve always been curious about successful people, leaders, and what they know that the rest of us don’t. This book was entertaining because Eisenhower was a character, nearly getting himself kicked out of West Point, causing a lot of trouble. But always there was in him a sense of confidence, a sense he would become somebody important. And more than this, he believed the world needed him — that if he didn’t exist, things would fall apart. He believed he was called to be a great man. I wondered, as I read, where he got this confidence.
I found the reason for Eisenhower’s confidence early on in the book, in a chapter in which he discussed his childhood. Dwight Eisenhower said that from the beginning, his mother and father operated on an assumption that set the course for his life: that the world could be fixed of its problems if every child understood the necessity of their existence.
The Necessity of Their Existence
There it is. What a great way to say it. The world can be fixed of its problems if every child understood the necessity of their existence. This is so true. I believe this to the core of my being. Every single human being has been born a masterpiece – with good works prepared in advance for them to do. The world needs every person to be everything they were born to be. As author and speaker Erwin McManus once said, There has never been an ordinary child born on this planet, ever; as such, everyone has the potential to make extraordinary contributions to the world every single day.
The sooner you hear this, and the more often you hear this – especially as a child – the better. The unique, full expression of our lives is our preferred destiny. It is the preferred destiny of our children.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
Similar to the expression, faith without works is dead, we can say that, words without action are dead. Our belief in our children, our belief in anyone’s children we influence, and the words we use to communicate that belief, have to be actionable. We need to mentor – by example – what it looks like to unleash the unique masterpiece we were born to be.
That means, you can’t really fake it about yourself. In order to be effective at unleashing others – you, yourself, first,must be unleashing. One of my big regrets of parenting my own kids is that I did not believe enough in myself when they were younger. I wasn’t as good as a could have been at unleashing my own masterpiece in my daily life – and communicating it effectively.
Our kids, and the kids we are in proximity to on a regular basis, will be influenced to a much greater extent, by who we are what we do, than by what we say.
Believe it About Yourself First
Make sure you secure your own oxygen mask first, before helping your kids. There is profound truth wrapped up in that little cliche phrase that travelers here 1000s of times a day. In order to effectively communicate the necessity of our children’s existence, we have to believe that we are also a necessity for the world to get better; and, we need to act on that belief – daily.
I could have done better with my kids in this particular area (and in others), but I could have also done much worse. The past is the past. I need to be fully present in the here and now, with my sights set on fully unleashing myself, so I can effectively unleash those around me – especially any children I have some influence on!