This week, in my class on High Trust Leadership from the TrueFace High Trust Leadership Center, I was asked to reflect upon the following statements in relation to my family.
Did I feel free and safe enough to admit my mistakes to my family?
Did I feel I had to defend my choices, feelings and actions when around my family?
Were my wants, likes, dislikes, and values respected and honored by my family?
Could I ask for my needs to be met without belittlement?
Was I free to be inconsistent and illogical with my family?
Could I express my fears to my family and be heard by them?
Could I cry in front of my family or cry with my family?
If you surveyed two of my baby photos with my parents from a super looooooooooooooong time ago, do you think they offer any insights on how I answered these acceptance questions this week?
Take a look:
And here’s my mom…
I was one happy kid, wasn’t I?
Today, I sit a continent or two away from my parents. Later tonight, I will give them a Skype call to check in with them and more importantly, to wish them a wonderful and amazing 55 year anniversary! How blessed and grateful I am to celebrate these two kind, generous and amazing people!
Was I free to express myself and did I feel safe in my family?
Was I able to make mistakes?
Was I heard?
Could I cry? Long and hard?
The truth of the matter is that when all is said and done, the answer is an affirming ‘yes’ to every question. Of course there were times that were not so wonderful and were not so easy. No family life is free of sadness, heartache, struggle and disappointment.
Yet, my parents were in my court.
I knew that and have never doubted that –
— not as a child when my parents encouraged and supported me in all my athletic endeavors; swimming, soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball and tennis. How we did all that I’m not even sure!
— not as a teen when I would come home sobbing after school because of how I was treated by classmates.
—not as a young adult when my first marriage exploded and I was left abandoned and broken.
—not as a single-again-gal who had to figure out who I was all over again – or actually for the first time.
—not as a short-term missionary who traveled the world.
—not as a newly married and then, new mom of a sweet, happy and alert baby boy.
—not as the mom of two more boys who would be diagnosed with autism and would need even more support and care as John and I navigated uncharted waters.
—not as a missionary to South Africa; leaving for a 10+ year missionary career and not being able to see one another for 2-4 years at a time.
My parents have gifted me with a lifetime of affirmation and acceptance.
Their love and care of me has served as a pivotal role in shaping my character and worldview. I seek to be a person of hope, a person of peace, a person of joy, and a person of generosity. My parents helped show me the way. Their unwavering love and support is something I have consistently been able to trust and depend upon throughout my life.
Happy 55th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!
I love you today – more than ever!!!!