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When Superman Dies (Grieving My Dad’s Loss)

By October 3, 2017 Mentorship, Personal Development, Uncategorized

I remember hearing the words… “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! It’s a bird! It’s a plane… It’s Superman!” Superman was indestructible. Every week when watching Superman there was a threat! Yet Superman was always willing to sacrifice his well being for the well being of others. However, in each episode Superman won! He could not lose. I think that is why it was such a shocker when seeing the ending scene of Batman V. Superman. Superman was not just defeated he was dead… and buried!  I remember walking out of the theater dejected! Hurt! I can’t really explain why… until the last day of Summer this year… my dad died.

Superman was not supposed to die… and neither should my dad! As a boy, I remember seeing dad as a super man. Perhaps one reason was that he said Superman was his brother and they were separated at birth (I think I believed that until I was 12 years old… don’t judge me he was a REALLY good storyteller)! Perhaps it was because my dad is who I saw everyday being… well… a man. I watched how he interacted with my mother, with me, with my brother, how he worked at the house, how he laughed and wove a story. I marveled at who he was and held on to every word, every tickle, every moment. To me dad was Superman! Not saving the world (or even Lois Lane) but rather he was the picture of how a man should be and he seemed super! He was the pinnacle of who I could be. So when my dad died… I didn’t know what to do!

If I’m telling the truth (and I am), I have to say that I still don’t know what to do with the loss of my dad but I am learning to point up and move forward. As I process my dad’s death here is what I am reminded of…

Everyone has influence

My dad worked in shipping and receiving over 30 years. He thought he did not have much influence but his life lessons and stories have influenced me and many others. His “life celebration” service was full (we thought it was lame to call it a “memorial service”! We thought about saying “Funeral” but decided against it even though dad thought we should put the “fun” back in “funeral” [I’m telling you he just looked at stuff a little different than most people])! He would often say things like “I’m satisfied with not leading.” But that is the paradox of life we can’t not lead. John Maxwell says that influence is leadership and everyone influences. So dad was very influential in his own way! I am reminded that everyone has influence.

Everyone dies

I hate this one! I catch myself reflecting on Genesis 1-3 and think… “what if Adam and Eve wouldn’t have messed it all up for all of us?!?!”We would have lived together… FOREVER! However, sin has infected all of us! Hebrews 9:27 – says “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” Lest we think we are immortal on this side of eternity we need to live in the reality that one day even the super-est of men and women will die.  

We will meet again

I hate that we die but I am thankful that we don’t just go back to the earth. We have been given great hope in 2 Cor 5:6-8… “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” For those who have surrendered to Christ (who is even better than Superman), they have been given eternal life and we will spend it together! Though my heart grieves I can say with gratitude that “it is not goodbye, just, I will see you later!” So… Dad, I’ll see you later! 

Christ is the ultimate example

As I alluded to earlier, Christ is our ultimate example. My dad was great but he had his flaws (just like every person before him and every person after him). Therefore, Paul’s words are especially meaningful as I consider my dad, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” So as I consider the life of my dad and remember his legacy I will imitate those things that reflect Christ (less I unwittingly worship him which sometimes happens after someone passes).

Closing thoughts:

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! It’s a bird! It’s a plane… It’s Superman!” Superman was indestructible… I thought. However, even Superman dies. Like Superman, but in different ways, my dad made sacrifices but the ultimate sacrifice was made by Christ on the cross. On the last day of Summer this year! … my dad died. I will miss him, hurt for him and I will also celebrate his life and the lessons he taught me! Dad was a super man!

These are the things I am learning. Perhaps you have had a similar experience. Please post your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Remembering my dad, Kenneth Lee White – My Superman

March 8, 1954 – September 21, 2017

 

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Lessons on Communication from Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (There are definitely spoilers in this blog)

By July 26, 2017 Communication, Leadership, Mentorship, Personal Development

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was one of the best movies of the summer. I think that if we keep our eyes, mind, and heart open we can learn from just about anything. That makes for some very teachable moments in GotG2. Before you read any further… Yes, there will be some spoilers in this blog. Also, if you have seen both movies then this will make WAAAAAAAAYYYY more sense 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts about what you learned! The following is a list of a few lessons I think are worth thinking through!

1 – What is said is not always what is meant.

This is a very important point. Throughout both GotG and GotG2 we see tension between Peter Quill and Yondu. Peter is frustrated at Yondu and Yondu constantly holds the fact that he saved Peter from being eaten by the other Ravagers over Peter’s head. We later figure out that Yondu is really fond of Peter and was protecting him from a terrible fate. However, because Yondu does not know how to address his emotions / feelings his words are very harsh!

It is important for us to keep in mind that often times “what is said is not always what is meant.” This is not unique to Ravagers! People often say one thing while hiding what they really mean! A few things to consider when speaking with others (or in long term relationships) is:

– Consider body language – Often times our body language communicates what we really think / believe.

– Consider behavior (especially long term).

– Consider tone – Often tone communicates issues such as emphasis, anger, warmth, love, hate, etc.  

The best way to communicate is found in the words of Jesus, “let your yes be yes and your no, no.”

2 – Saying what you think can be fun (and embarrassing).

Drax is known for communicating what he is thinking. At times, Drax’s inability to not say exactly what he is thinking is very funny. Other times, his honesty about what he is thinking reveals his ignorance. Saying what we think can be very freeing and funny but speaking everything on our mind can show ignorance and foolishness! Beware!

The Bible has a lot to say about this matter – From prudence, to speaking without thinking, guarding our mouth is a very important thing to do as we communicate with others! (see Proverbs 12:22-23;18:6=7; 29:20; Isaiah 32:6)

3 – Response is age appropriate.

One of the best scenes is after the opening scene where we hear one of the best songs the world has ever known (obviously I’m talking about the song, Brandy from Looking Glass). We then get to see baby Groot dancing and barely dodging life threatening situations. At one point Gamora yells to Groot to leave and get out of danger. Groot does not understand (or maybe does not care). Groot simply waves at Gamora. Gamora does not get upset but simply responds to him appropriately, almost motherly!

Sometimes we are locked in on what we want to communicate the way that we want to communicate it. It is very important that we not get caught up in ourselves but rather communicate the message that is needed to be heard. What is the message and what is the age appropriate way to communicate the message?

I am reminded of Paul’s urge to the fathers in the book Ephesians where he warns the fathers to not exasperate their children. Harsh communication or communication that is not age appropriate can cause such exasperation whether that is your child or not.

4 – Sacrifice is an action and communicates love.

Yondu ultimately gives his life up for Peter. He shows that he values Peter by ultimately giving his life. Peter lives because Yondu give up his life. That sacrifice showed Peter that Yondu loved him despite the words that Yondu used.

Do you know anyone like that? A teacher who did not care if they made you mad but seemed to pick on you? A coach that pushed you beyond what you thought was possible? A parent who sacrificed and worked multiple jobs so you did not go without but did not use the word “love” when talking to you? Could it be that they were really saying “I love you” with their sacrifice?

Again the words of Jesus jump out at us and we are reminded of his words that “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.”

Closing:

Communication is important no matter what planet you are from. However, we have a unique need to be understood. GotG2 is a great example of seeing the need to communicate. There were so many things that we could have picked out from the movie but I think these four should keep us talking and learning for awhile!

Please feel free to share additional thoughts you have on this subject below!

 

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7 Stages to a Great Apology

By July 21, 2017 Communication, Mentorship, Personal Development

When we mess up, what do we do? Many people just like to act like nothing happened. Some people like to shift the blame to others. I want to give another thought. APOLOGIZE!!!

How in the world do I give a good apology? That is a question that has plagued mankind for thousands of years! Hang in there! There is an answer!

I am forever grateful to Rick Stein, Specialist of Alliance Peacemaking,

for his incredible patience in teaching and training me on the 7 A’s of confession from Peacemaker Ministries! Let me share with you the “7 A’s of confession” or what we might call the “7 Stages of a great apology”. I have had the great opportunity to put this into practice… a lot! I hope you learn from my mess ups!   

1.Address everyone involved

When we offend others it is very important to address everyone. We should not ask someone to represent us with others. Addressing everyone allows us to be able to show that we are remorseful and that we do care.

2.Avoid if, but, maybe

Have you ever heard something like… “I am sorry if you felt that way,” or “I am sorry but maybe you should not have…” or “I am sorry, however, maybe you should have behaved…”? Yeah, SAME! Those are not apologies! They don’t own anything! Avoiding words like “if, but and maybe” are necessary for clearly communicating an apology.  

3.Admit specifically

Nobody likes hemming and hawing! Nobody likes vagueness when it comes to an apology! Nobody likes feeble attempts at being sorry. When someone offers an apology without admitting to the specific issue at hand it does not feel like they are owning their part and consequently it does not feel like an apology.

4.Acknowledge the hurt

We got to get out of our own skin and look through someone else’s eyes and acknowledge the hurt that the person is feeling. We might ask, “how would I feel if someone did this to me”. Once we answer that question it is pretty safe to say that the person to whom we are apologizing to feels the same way!  Acknowledge the hurt.

5.Accept the consequences

Sometimes our actions have the consequence of not being trusted or hurt. That often is not fixed with an apology. It may take time to heal and consistency with a new behavior. They may get huffy or even reject our apology. That’s on them. We must be willing to accept the consequences.  

6.Alter our behavior

A real apology shows that a behavior (words or actions) need to be changed. The way to show that we mean our apology is that there is a behavior change. That a behavior will be altered.  

7.Ask for forgiveness

Finally, we should use our words and ask for forgiveness.

Prayerfully, consider these steps. Perhaps right relationships make us feel good because right relationships honor God!

Do you have other suggestions or ideas? Please feel free to share them!   

 

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