Take A Step Back

Sometimes you just have to step back. And then be thankful with what you see.

Most of the time we see our kids, our marriage, our jobs, and our life from just inches away.  You know when you’re that close, you see everything wrong. Every flaw, every goof, everything that’s out of place, misguided, the stress lines and struggle – it’s magnified by our choice of perspective.

When you look at your car after a much needed wash or look at your house with the new Christmas lights now up, where do you stand?  Do you stand right there in front or do you step back – far enough to really get the right perspective?

It’s time to do that with what really matters.  Step back and really look at your kids.  My wife and I will do this occasionally – and yet not enough.  We’ll get frustrated, just like every other parent, with the poor decisions, laziness, disrespect, etc.  But ultimately, when we step back and look at the “masterpiece” we are constantly working on – our children – we really do like what we see.  They’re pretty good kids, despite those flaws.  Flaws that we happen to have as well.  And Amy and I don’t really believe we’re the true architects anyway.  We’re just facilitators in a grand scheme.  The question is what are we facilitating? By focusing too closely, our attention is in the wrong place, and we’ll tend to highlight what’s wrong. If we step back, we get the right perspective and tend to promote what’s right. You get the idea.

How do you step back? Well, you choose for one thing – be aware and decide, often.  Another way is by changing your environment.  Find a great getaway for you and the kids.  A place where you can see each other out of life’s typical routine, where you can connect and reflect.  I just met with a friend who spoke of this. They have a getaway in a remote part of the state. His wife wanted it and he didn’t – said they’d never go and yet years later he’s reflecting on how thankful he is to have yielded to her wisdom.  It’s a tradition for their family that promotes perspective – the right perspective. We’ve been doing the same thing with our family by spending a week in WV every fall – for the past 14 years.  Our kids even cherish this time and place more than any other getaway – including the beach!

If a getaway isn’t an option at the moment, Calgon suggests taking a bath. Maybe start there.

As you step back, be thankful. That one day a year when we tend to collectively think in terms of a grateful, thankful heart, will be here before we know it. Try being bitter and thankful at the same time. Doesn’t work. One wins out. You choose. I choose thankful, and I make it easier when I step back.