Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Measure of Success

My husband and I are serving an inner city service mission to disadvantaged youth in a large southern metropolis. Among other things, we work with kids to help them improve themselves and their circumstances.

As we get to know each person, individual characteristics and personality traits become apparent.

Some youth just seem to 'drift' along, unmotivated as to self improvement and uncaring about change. They appear to enjoy life as it is, living only for the moment. They:
1.                  Take pleasure in their surroundings.
2.                  Enjoy friendships of the moment.
3.                  Accept others just as they are.
4.                  Join in the pleasure of the minute.

Others are driven, grasping at any program or agenda that will help them change their circumstances. They want to improve themselves and their lives. They:
1.                  Look for ways to change their lives.
2.                  Know that education is the way out of the ghetto.
3.                  Encourage others to adopt their ideas.
4.                  Plan carefully to complete their goals.

As we counsel with these young people, it's difficult not to compare one group against the standards of the other group. But one way of life isn't 'wrong' and the other 'right.'

Let's look at our own lives. Are there positives we can adopt from each of these life styles? 

I want to take pleasure in my surroundings and enjoy friendships because I accept others just as they are. But I also want to improve myself, get as much education as I can, and complete the goals I have set for myself.

The price of success is hard work, and the determination . . . we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. Vince Lombardi

Each of us has a unique set of personality traits. We can choose to stay the way we are or set goals to change our circumstances. 

Which way do you work?
Make a conscious choice to become the best you can be—to find your own success, whatever that means to you.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Family Success

Several weeks ago I met a family where three generations live in the same house. There is a grandmother, three daughters, and eleven children.

Now this is a lot of people under the same roof. When I first became acquainted with them, I felt a little overpowered. Listening to everyone talk, and getting to know each person seemed overwhelming. But as I learned everyone's name and got used to the chatter and activity of the children, I saw respect and order amidst the commotion.

There are lots of reasons this family functions so well.

1.      The adults support each other.
2.      The adults cooperate with each other.
3.      The adults love each other.
4.      The adults have fun together.
5.      The adults work together.


The children are learning to support each other. If one of them is having difficulty reading, another is always there to help with the hard word.

Child cooperation is evident in this family, especially with the baby of this extended group. As she toddles around, an older sister or brother is always there to pick her up when she falls.

Love abounds in this family as the kids dance together, enjoy group games, and many other activities. 

This family has the necessities of life, but not a lot of extras. They make do with what they have and find fun in being together and learning together. Education matters to this group of people so I know the children will be successful in their pursuits in life.

Everyone works in this family. It's like a big enthusiastic group of people, moving in the same direction.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
Henry Ford.

 I consider it a great blessing to know these people. They have expanded my view of family life. I am a better person because of my friendship with them, and I am grateful for that gift.