Last month our family achieved an important milestone in our lives. We dropped in the mail our final house payment to become 100% debt free!
|Hiking summer of 2012
It turns out you can have some pretty good talks with God when there are no distractions in your way and complete evidence of his glory surrounding you. Take such an outing with some youth and you will also be amazed to see the difference hardship, fun and learning while breathing in some clean mountain air will make. It clears the mind and it clears the soul.
Conner is 16 now and it seems lately I have been thinking more and more about his future. What kind of man will he be? How will he do in college? Will his dream of becoming a petroleum engineer come true? Will he go on to have a big house, nice car and fat bank account?
This future Mrs. Copeland is unknown to me by name but God in his providence has already destined her to find Conner someday.
I sincerely believe it will make a positive difference.
And to you future Mrs. Copeland
Someday in the future we will talk on your wedding day. I can’t wait to hold your hand, look into your eyes and tell you that we have loved you and prayed for you long before you were even known to us. Even today I know you are amazing.
In my role as a Scout volunteer, I recently had chance to learn a little about techniques to use in a crises situation as part of the Wilderness Survival merit badge. There was something about the STOP model in the training that struck me as valuable for my personal life as well.
The point of the discussion was that often when people get lost there is panic which in turn ends up making the situation worse. There are many examples of people that in crises decided to blaze a way out of danger situations by panicking and running through the woods. These folks soon find themselves in even more despair, lost and alone.
I realize now that I often make this same error as a parent, husband and manager. Like many others, I see a problem and I want to immediately jump to a solution. Men are notorious about solution jumping when our wives bring a problem.
How different might the outcome be however if I simply followed this model instead.
Sit=Find some time alone in a quiet place to…
Think=What really is the issue here? Sometimes the mind can race so quickly with a fight or flight response that we need to consciously slow things down so that we can….
Observe=Many of the problems we face are simply situational and temporary. They could also be indicators of something deeper that needs to be examined.
This might be a good time to break out a pen and paper (yes they do still make these) and write down what you are feeling about problem. Have you felt this way before? What has worked in the past? How have others handled a similar problem? It is highly unlikely that you will experience any issues in life that someone else has not experienced and found a way to overcome.
Plan=Now finally with all of your facts straight and your situation assessed it is time to map out a plan for survival.
Next time you are in crises just STOP and perhaps you will find a better result!
― John Maxwell
Indeed you are a _____ for _____ and you are oh so much more.
You see there is a big difference between where you work and what you do. We all know where we work but very few people have taken time to deeply consider what they really do.
When people ask me what I do, I surprise many by saying, “I enable the success of others”.
I learned this many years ago in college when I was paying my way through as a janitor. My boss one day posed the question to me and I of course responded, “I am a janitor, I sweep floors, scrub toilets, clean up after babies are born in OB and when accidents happen in the ER” (Go ahead—soak on that image for a bit)
He said all of this was true but in reality my job was to save lives. “Huh?” From there he explained the importance of cleanliness to prevent staph infections and many other horrible things that could be found in the hospital. Next he had me write a little intro statement to explain my role. Oh and yes, those really are pictures of me from back in 1989.
Suddenly, for the first time at work I felt important and needed. I have carried this lesson through to all my jobs and volunteer passion.
As a hospital janitor—“I help save lives”
As a call center agent—“I solve problems and make people happy”
As a wireless sales person—“I help families stay connected, business people make more money, and people find help in times of emergency”
As a trainer and training manager—well you know that one.
The great Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
So let me ask—What do you do?
As promised, here is my Value, Purpose and Compelling Vision. I have it posted at my desk along with the photo. The picture serves as a nice reminder that my wife and son are looking up to me as a leader for our family. I can never forget this and must strive to always be a Godly example.
Hopefully you have taken some time to go through this exercise as well. If not, I encourage you to do so soon.
My value list
Closeness to God
To serve God, serve my family and serve those around me.
My compelling vision statement:
I shall live a life grounded with a sense of integrity and of closeness with my God.
My values along with the Oath, Law and Motto will guide my choices along the way.
In my personal life I shall seek first to be a Godly husband and father and I will value those around me.
In my work life, I am committed to helping others experience success so they in turn will help others succeed.
I indeed understand that this life is but a breath in time and the impact I will have on others in service of Him is the most important impact of all.
Psalm 39:4-5 (New Living Translation)
4 “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”