Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It Starts With the Family

As part of the leadership team on retreat for an upcoming event next weekend, we were privileged to have Tulsa’s new Bishop, David Konderla, as our guest speaker. At the end of his talk, we had the opportunity to ask him questions. One of the questions asked was “What comments would you give regarding the upcoming election?” I liked his “straight to the point” approach. “Know the party’s candidate and platforms and vote for the one which aims you the closest to what you believe is God’s heart. Our role is to make the world a better place.” What he responded to in the next question made clear sense about what our roles should be. “As women, what can we do to support you?” His response was “You are women who are in charge of your families. Beat them every day, boys twice daily….just kidding.” LOL! Then he said, “Teach your children to love being a productive citizen – that will be the foundation for who they are and who they will become. The people we vote for in an election come from families. Home is their first training school.”

I loved that. Think about it. Every one of our politicians came from families – either they were taught the Golden Rule or they weren’t. They were taught character, honor, respect, human dignity…..or they weren’t. Family values involve all those qualities of how we want to live our family life, and they are passed down from previous generations. They help define the way we behave in various situations, help us make right and good choices, and they solidify the bonds we have together. If our family members respect each other – chances are very good, they’ll respect others. If they live by “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” that’s how they’ll treat others. If they support each other, they’ll support their fellow man. If they respect their family’s lives, they’ll respect other lives.

I learned character from a young age. I remember when I was just a little tot finding some wrapped candy on the floor in the grocery store and slipping it in my pocket. My Mom marched me back to the store to apologize for the error of my ways. That day, I understood the value of honesty. So much so, that as a grown woman, I will still give back change if the cashier gives me too much.

VALUES are those specifics that define who we are and are the absolute non-negotiables in our lives. When God made us, He planted within us certain things that we value deeply. They’re hardwired in our heart. Through our life experiences – from the environment we are raised in, the schools we go to, the friends we associate with, and the religious foundation we receive, God made them clear to us. These are the things that we would be willing to die for. They explain how we come by our personal priorities. If our values are on the side of the 10 Commandments, God’s Word and God’s love….I’d say, like Bishop Konderla said, “We’re making this world a better place.” What if we could see into the future as to where our children would land? Would that vision help us with being the examples of strength, integrity and honor to them? What if we were the only measure of rule they knew? Perhaps it’s time for us to look inside our 4 walls instead of peeking into others and judging them.

Love begins at home. It's not how much we do, but how much love we put into that action. -- Mother Teresa