Yesterday I was speaking to some very close friends. They asked me how I understood my own personality. I said “I am a teacher. Everything I have ever wanted to get done I tried to get it done as a teacher”.
When I was CEO of Union Rescue Mission at Union Rescue Mission I led as a teacher. I have often heard successful athletic coaches described as a person that could get her/his players to buy into his/her system. If the players really bought into the concepts taught by their coaches they would do the correct thing even they were exhausted at the end of the game. At the mission I felt if I was a successful teacher they would do thing that I had taught them when I was around but also when I was out of town.
I also tried to parent my kids as a teacher. It was interesting to me that if one of my daughters couldn’t see why I was asking them to do something they would ask questions. Most of the time their questions led to a better way to do their task. I also told them if I yelled at them they were completely free to yell back.
The important issue to me with my daughters was not whether or not I loved them. The issue for me was did they KNOW I loved loved. My fathering was a sales job. I needed to sell them on the truth that I loved them with all of my heart.
In fact I growing up never thought about what I wanted as a career.All I wanted for myself was to be a father.
As a father I wanted to be on the lookout to notice teachable moments as they came up with my children. That was when their heart was open to my love. At a moment like that they not only heard what I was saying but at that moment their hearts could deeply receive it. What follows is a great example of a teachable moment I had with my eldest Gina.
My in laws were good to us. They helped to be able us to buy our first house. However, they were were careful to the point that they threw the toaster they got as a wedding gift away on their 25th anniversary in the box it came in 25 years before. I was a far different makeup and might not have had any thing I had had for the last 25 years. I felt intimidated by their ability to be that organized and to keep things organized and searchable.
One year they gave me a beautiful softball mitt for my birthday. Sometimes the girls took the mitt to school with them. The mitt had taken on mythological proportions. Every kid wanted to use it at PE. My girls became very popular because other kids wanted to gain ground on the other kids as they all competed to be able to use it next.
One Morning my beloved oldest daughter Gina asked me if she could take the mitt to school. I felt my intimidation I had because of my inlaws swept over me. What on earth would I say to my inlaws if the mitt disappeared so soon after I had gotten it. I told poor Gina very forcefully to be sure to bring it home that afternoon.
When I got home from work My wife said you better go see Gina. Way at back of our home we had a den. I went to the den and there I saw Gina. I could see how upset she was. I asked her what was going on she told me after her morning PE she had locked my mitt in her locker. Later that afternoon a girl asked Gina if she could borrow a pair of gym socks. Gina said sure and with lots of people standing around listening she shouted out her locker number and the combination.
Now she was upset because she was sure that when she went to school in the morning the mitt would be gone. Gina has big brown eyes. When I saw her with big tears in her eyes the mitt seemed very insignificant to me . I said “Honey next to you that mitt means nothing to me. I meant it too. I was so sorry that I had allowed my insecurities to cause me to put way too much pressure on her ” I took Gina in my arms to comfort her. In awhile she had calmed down and at peace. We sat together bathed in mutual love.
I could have missed a wonderful moment provided by God if I had not seenthe situation in love and understanding, That change of perspective gave me a chance to penetrate her heart with the fact that I loved her so very much. Her fear and sorrow had washed away all her little girl layers of protections and left her inner being wide open to my love. It was a teachable moment. I prayed silently that I would always see a moment like that any time it was given to me and that would avoid ever putting so much pressure on my tender hearted child.