Something Missing

This morning as I wondered into the kitchen to get some coffee brewing, I realized something was missing.  I have become accustomed to having three of my children–all teenagers at the moment–greet me in the morning with a nice long hug.  We all seem to wake up slowly so there isn’t normally much conversation, but the embrace communicates more than words ever could.  The morning before yesterday, all three of them headed north to volunteer their time for the summer at a Christian camp.  Originally starting as an idea to teach them the importance of serving others; not only is it the greatest investment, but it also yields a tremendous return in both relationships and a feeling of satisfaction that your life is making a difference. Well, they followed my advice, and now I am missing them and all the little things that they add to my life just by their presence.

Isn’t it funny how we pursue so many different things in life, but when you stop and really consider what is important; it always comes down to relationships.  My friend and mentor, Orrin Woodward, said that the greatest of all pains in life is relational pain.  How true–whether it is in your relationship with God or people, when you are truly happy or when you are really hurting–it almost always comes down to a relationship issue.  Therefore, it only makes sense to spend a consistent amount of time working on your relationship skills.  One of the reasons I love the LIFE Community that I am a part of, is the focus on continual personal growth in your relationships–as well as other areas.  Reading, listening to audios, and positive association is so helpful to keep refining your skills and learning to understand yourself and others.

I recently picked up a nugget from a pastor that put things into perspective.  He said that we should ask ourselves and those closest to us, “What is it like to be on the other side of me?”.  The first thing to realize is that you and I have never been there.  We only have our own perspective to go off of.  Therefore, if we really want to get insight into ourselves, we need to humble ourselves and ask others for their thoughts.  This is not recommended if you don’t want to hear some things that may hurt your feelings.  However, if you really want to get better, it will help you see yourself through someone else’s eyes.  It is also beneficial to have a mentor who can direct you to the best resources to help you improve in the areas that you are weak.  The thing to remember is that we are all on a journey through this life.  Perfection is not attainable, but excellence is.  The journey becomes much more exciting when you are working on improving yourself and strengthening the relationships around you.

As I realize that I will be missing some hugs and special times with some of my kids this summer, I also realize that I now have more time to enjoy my wife, my oldest son and his new bride, and the many new friends I will be making.  Thanks to the association with the Team and the LIFE Community–and because of the Mental Fitness Challenge–I am coming in contact with a high-caliber group of people who want to improve their own lives and make a positive difference in the world around them.  Who knows?  Maybe this summer, I will meet one of my future best friends.


God bless!



9 responses to “Something Missing

  1. That is so true. Ones perspective makes all the difference in the world, wether it is changing it yourself or seeking out someone else’s. (as you do both) You have been a great example to not only myself in this area but to all whom you have influence with. It truly is great to be a part of LIFE Community with such living examples as yourself.

  2. Awesome post, Dean! This seems to be a reoccurring theme in our lives lately…nurturing the relationships that mean the most. Thank you for the example you and your family set for the rest of us raising kids and learning to cultivate meaningful relationships. We love you guys! God bless.

  3. Great post Dean. I remember when my oldest went off to serve in the military. It’s the little things that you miss the most that we always seem to take for granted. Before you know it they will be back and those hugs will feel even better than before.

  4. Wow. I have to admit to reading this post with a lump in my throat. I can’t believe how fast my kids are growing up. Watching the relationship you have with your kids has always motivated me to be a better dad. I thank God for bringing me to this community at my halftime of life where I can learn from leaders like you and Orrin and the friends I have made with the TEAM. I will never be perfect at growing my relationships, but it feels good to know I’ve got help climbing that mountain.

  5. Haven’t talked to you in a while Dean. You are still a big influence in my life. Your insights into real life moments and what they mean are inspiring. I would love to get together with you and Theresa and reconnect. Hope to talk to you later. God Bless.

  6. Great post! I often look at my children and think of how little time I have left to mold them for the future. How can I teach them if I’m not also in the process of learning and getting better. Mentors have played a huge role in my life and are becoming more important every day as I become aware of the blind spots in my own life. I am also looking forward to more and better relationships in the future as I grow myself. Thanks for your post Dean, and reminding us of what is important.

  7. Such truth in this dean we must frist improve our selves before we can trully help others you may be able to fade your way for a bit but as other leaders have said it will not last you will be found out. Great post Dean

  8. Wow, when I go to make my coffee, I’m thinking about how many scoops I need to make a complete pot of coffee! Here you go putting things into perspective with the way you think of what it would be like “being on the opposite side of me.” It’s funny every time I think I’m growing in my thought process, I read a post like this and realize, I have so much more to grow into. I didn’t even know I was supposed to ask a question like that let alone have an answer! Thanks for constantly pushing your thought process to see things from a different lens.

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