A New Name

RingsI changed her name today. Finally. It’s been official for several weeks.

She’s been on my mind about her travels, her return to the USA and settling into her new home.

The transition in her has been gradual, consistent, and wonderful to watch. She has had the same name for 22 + years so changing it was something that didn’t come automatic for me.

Yesterday I told Siri to call Emily Branson. The name appeared on the screen of my phone, the number was dialed and began to ring. Then I remembered — that wasn’t her anymore. Emotion stirred in me for a moment as I waited for her to answer; it was like time flashed through all the years with her in my mind.

“Hello Dad!” What sweet words to hear.

I think I choked out a “Hi, honey”. I do remember confessing immediately to her that I had not changed her name in my phone yet. Her familiar giggle warmed me inside.

After our brief call I set my phone down. I was busy, but not enough to have taken a couple of seconds to go into my Contacts and make a change. But I wanted to wait one more day.

The ceremony was finished, I had placed her hand in the hand of Josh Smallbone. I joined my wife and his parents in a prayer of blessing over them. I wrote them a letter and gave it to Josh in a Baton to symbolize the hand off of my protection of her to him.Parent's prayerThrough the Doors

Yet, my phone still held her close from the past. I reflected with it about her. It shared the emails, texts and photos of Emily Branson. Sweet memories; thank you phone.

This morning my phone and I released her to be the new person she will become and I am so happy for the expansion of my relationships, not the end. I gained a son, I didn’t loose a daughter. They both gained a great spouse.

Life transitions are constantly happening to us. If you are a follower of Christ reading this, I urge you to think of the change you are going through as His Bride.

Revelation 2:17 tells us “…and to each one who is victorious I will give a new name engraved on a White Stone.”

I believe that Josh and Emily will have many joys and will be victorious over the challenges in their marriage until physical death parts them. I hope and pray that your relationship in your marriage to Christ will do the same.

How wonderful the day when Jesus says, “I changed his/her name today”. Then you hear the Father call you by it and you say, “Hello Dad!”

Who Do People Say I Am? – Part 2

What Others Say About Me - part 2“Sticks and stones may break my bones,  but words will never harm me!”  Did you hear that saying when you were growing up?  Is it true? I will answer that one for you; no, it is not.  Words are powerful, strong, strengthening and destructive. The labels or descriptions we put on people can stick on them.  They can work their way deep into the mind and remain there for a life time.

The words used to describe you can build you up or tear you down. If you are spoken well of it can boost your self-confidence, stroke your ego, give you positive feelings of being respected, acknowledged, appreciated, approved, and secure. If you are criticized it can have the opposite effect.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How did others learn about you?
  • Do they know you?
  • Do they know things about you from personal experience?
  • Did they hear about you from someone else or from something written about you?
  • What is the nature of your relationship with them?
  • Does it matter to you what they say?
  • Is it true?
  • What if it is not?
  • Does it matter?
  • How will you respond?

There is another saying I heard growing up; *“To thy own self be true.”  No matter what others say about you, you know the truth about yourself. Sometimes we are unjustly accused, or unfairly judged, or misunderstood, or gossiped about by jealous or unhealthy people (see part 1). Mostly we are spoken of as a result of our personal choices in word and deed that others see or hear about.

What about your reputation? It is earned over time with a good one easily tarnished quickly.

Wikipedia says, “Reputation of a social entity (a person, a social group, an organization) is an opinion about that entity, typically a result of social evaluation on a set of criteria.”

A take-a-way from this Part 2: Usually what others say about you is what you have shown or said to them directly or indirectly. 

  1. As you are critiqued by the public what choices do you have?  
  2. Have you considered choosing to not be offended even when something said about you is offensive?
  3. If your criteria for how to be is clear to you, then what does it matter what other say?
  4. How will you live from this day forward to teach people how to talk about you?

* Original source is a line from Polonius in Hamlet.

Who Do People Say I Am?- Part 1

Angry WordsWhat I have learned overtime is most people don’t think about us or what we have done or how we are feeling as much as we may think they do! We may want; even need, more attention, acceptance, and approval from others, but having a hyper-focused worry, dread, suspension on how we are being perceived is a thinking path that leads to negative feelings, thinking and ultimately behavior.

It is also interesting to consider the person, or persons, that are talking about you.  According to 1 new research by a Wake Forest University psychology professor, how positively you see others is linked to how happy, kind-hearted and emotionally stable you are.

Your perceptions of others reveal so much about your own personality,” says Dustin Wood, assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest and lead author of the study, about his findings. By asking study participants to each rate positive and negative characteristics of just three people, the researchers were able to find out important information about the rater’s well-being, mental health, social attitudes and how they were judged by others.

The study appears in the July issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Peter Harms at the University of Nebraska and Simine Vazire of Washington University in St. Louis co-authored the study.

The researchers found a person’s tendency to describe others in positive terms is an important indicator of the positivity of the person’s own personality traits. They discovered particularly strong associations between positively judging others and how enthusiastic, happy, kind-hearted, courteous, emotionally stable and capable the person describes oneself and is described by others.

“Seeing others positively reveals our own positive traits,” Wood says.

The study also found that how positively you see other people shows how satisfied you are with your own life, and how much you are liked by others.

In contrast, negative perceptions of others are linked to higher levels of narcissism and antisocial behavior. “A huge suite of negative personality traits are associated with viewing others negatively,” Wood says. “The simple tendency to see people negatively indicates a greater likelihood of depression and various personality disorders.” Given that negative perceptions of others may underlie several personality disorders, finding techniques to get people to see others more positively could promote the cessation of behavior patterns associated with several different personality disorders simultaneously, Wood says.

This research suggests that when you ask someone to rate the personality of a particular coworker or acquaintance, you may learn as much about the rater providing the personality description as the person they are describing. The level of negativity the rater uses in describing the other person may indeed indicate that the other person has negative characteristics, but may also be a tip off that the rater is unhappy, disagreeable, neurotic — or has other negative personality traits.

Raters in the study consisted of friends rating one another, college freshmen rating others they knew in their dormitories, and fraternity and sorority members rating others in their organization. In all samples, participants rated real people and the positivity of their ratings were found to be associated with the participant’s own characteristics.

By evaluating the raters and how they evaluated their peers again one year later, Wood found compelling evidence that how positively we tend to perceive others in our social environment is a highly stable trait that does not change substantially over time.

A take-a-way from this Part 1: What others say about you says more about them that you.

  1. Are you helped by considering that hurting people hurt people?  
  2. Does it help you not take offensive when someone is unjustly critical of you when you consider how it reflects on their own character?  Maybe pity for them can fill your heart rather than bitterness, resentment or anger?
  3. Would you be able to confront their hurtful words by doing kind things for them in return?

 

1 Wake Forest University (2010, August 3). What you say about others says a lot about you, research shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2010/08/100802165441.htm


	

? ? ? Three Important Questions

Three questionsBeginning Monday, August 26th, I will dedicate at least one blog to each of three questions.  They are important questions that you can answer.  They bring you face to face with yourself.  They allow you to drill down to the core of yourself.  That can be hard to do.  Many people have fear to look deep within themselves and explore what it is that makes them who they are and determines what they do.  It can be fascinating to learn!

My challenge to you (and myself) is to think about these three questions over the weekend.  Allow yourself the time reflect on them. Try to be honest with yourself.  You may not have a complete answer to some of them yet.  You may have no answer yet, that is ok.  You have begun the journey by first knowing the questions to ask.  Each answer will be as different as we are as individuals.

These are Coaching type questions.  I love to ask them of others to draw them out, and up to new levels. Join me in this series by seriously considering these for yourself.  Post your answers below if you have some already.  I would love to share them here to encourage others.  Thanks!

Ready?

1. Who do others say you are?
2. Who do you say you are?
3. Who does God say you are?

You can do this.  Think about them.  Share thoughts or questions here.

 

At least 17 Things Parents Need To Know:

Funny GirlsI sat beside my three children at a local coffee shop savoring the moments together. They are becoming very rare that the five of us have some “hang” time. My children are fun and inspiring. I still think I have some things to offer them in their maturing process but now I am more a student of them. Watching them grow is amazing.  My wife, and co-laborer in this parenting process, remains my best friend and partner in our role as parents.Bransons at Frothy Monkey

Most of my Facebook friends are parents, so I posted a request on my wall for sage advice from them on what parents need to know. I learned from them, hopefully you will find a nugget of insight for yourself too! Here is a selection of their comments.

  1. His Grace is new every morning.
  2. How to share their faith with their children.
  3. No child is perfect, but God’s saving grace is! (BF)
  4. Pick your battles! Not everything is worth the energy or time to ‘fight’ over!!
  5. Listen: It gives children, power and trust.
  6. Read to them, read with them, let them read to you.
  7. Kids thrive on acceptance, encouragement, AND correction.
  8. Give them permission to succeed AND permission to fail.
  9. Bike helmets work.
  10. Daddies, love your daughters. If she doesn’t find love and acceptance and affection from you, she will one day soon find it from another man.
  11. It can be cleaned up, it can be replaced, it will heal.
  12. Words can not be taken back and they will be remembered well. Choose them well.
  13. There is no greater kindness than when God lets you watch your children become the adults He intended them to be.
  14. Time together. There is no substitute.
  15. Disciple them to love and follow Jesus. In the end, that’s all that really matters.
  16. How to communicate love in a language your child understands. Time, Touch, Gifts, Words of affirmation, Service.
  17. Having a child is a lifetime commitment. You are in this until death do you part, for better or worse, for richer or poorer. Yes, it sounds like wedding vows, and it should.