I was taking my normal exercise walk one morning last week when a flock of birds – perhaps 1,000 in number – flew overhead and followed me down the street flying from one tree to another. I sensed very clearly God saying to me “Mark, what do you see?” What I observed was four of the most powerful lessons about family that need to be heard today:
First, all the birds flew in the same direction.
None went their own way. How many of us parents have a direction in mind that we would like our children to follow? Think in terms of the values we hold, the faith we live, and the hope we experience for them as adults. What can we do to help insure that happens? (Read the rest for some answers!)
Second, when a large group of the birds went to the next tree the rest of them followed.
They flew in this manner from one tree to another all the way down the street. One part of the group always moved ahead, leading the way for the rest. Think in terms of your family, the friends and extended family you spend time with, and your children’s friends. Are you a good influence on your children? Is your extended family a good influence? How about your children’s friends?
Are you as parents leading your children and teaching them to lead others? And together as a family, are you leading friends and extended family – all in a good direction? Are you leading them from one good experience to another? Or are other people and things of this world leading them? It is one or the other. Either you be intentional and take the lead, or another “flock” of dumb birds will!
Third, I noticed the whole flock was communicating with each other the entire time.
It was the loudest bunch of birds I had ever heard. One thousand all talking at once. A communication nightmare–or so it would seem. In reality, it kept them engaged and connected with each other! If there is one thing I am most concerned about in families today it is how little they communicate amongst themselves. Every member, moms and dads included, have their own TV’s, computers, Iphones, Ipads, and Iwhatevers that keeps each member talking with everyone but each other as a family. And the family dynamics suffer greatly. Siblings can’t get along with each other, parents are losing their kids, and the greatest opportunity to build the core units of a loving society is lost.
Parents PLEASE hear what I am saying. You have one chance with your children! If there is not regular, ongoing communication, laughter and fun, as well as rich engagement taking place in your home – shut every thing down and out until that becomes the centerpiece of your family. I fear for you if you do not.
Fourthly, the flock of birds kept moving.
They never settled long in one place. Every marriage and family faces the danger of “settling” with what is. As long as things seem OK we think – “just let them be.” That’s the mindset we often fall into as parents, as well as in our marriages. But life is never at a standstill. We are being swayed or pulled or led one way or another at all times.
As parents, and as husbands and wives with each other, we must not let our relationships grow stale. There is always more to learn, to model, to teach, to share, to experience in our families and marriages. Don’t settle. Keep moving. Lead or someone else will.
What direction are you taking your family? How are you leading them? I appreciate your feed back. You can leave a comment below: