Friday, May 14, 2010
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up” - Eccl. 4:9-10
Every time I write an article about parenting or anything else, I have to get it past my favorite editor, my wife Jeanie. She has a great eye for detail and is good grammatically. She reminds me to where to put my commas and she spots incomplete sentences and confusing stories that make sense to me but to no one else. Of course, every major publication has multiple editors that scour over the manuscripts, taking the raw and cleaning it up.
“He was a modest man with an unbelievable ego”
“I am proud to be able to say that I have sustained from the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco products”
“Take Wordsworth, for example; every one of his words is worth a hundred words”
“For almost all involved in these stories, premature burial has had a negative effect on their lives”
“My mother worked hard to provide me with whatever I needed in my life, a good home, a fairly stale family and a wonderful education”
“They eagerly and happily took out bags, welcomed us in English, and quickly drove us out of the airport”
“Do I shake the hand that has always bitten me”?
“In the spring, people were literally exploding outside”
“On a transcript: AP Engllish
“Handwritten on an interview form under Academic Interests: Writting”
Why is editing important? Because when we’re in the middle of the detail, the obvious is easy to miss. I can read over an article ten times and not spot what Jeanie catches on her first read. Truth is, we quickly justify words and actions when we evaluate from our own perspective. We’re terrible editors of ourselves.
The same is true in parenting. We’re not very objective. We’re quick to justify ourselves and our actions. Deep, deep inside, we think the way we do most things is right and if everyone else just understood our slant on things, we’d live in a better world. But we’re handing in papers with plenty of typo’s and misprints.
Who holds you accountable in your parenting? For those with a spouse, are you asking and including your partner in your parenting? For you single parents, who is a close friend that you’re including in on your parenting? We all need editors that we’re allowing to audit our relationships with our teenagers.
Sure, there will be times you’ll disagree with your editor and there will be times you might be defensive and angry. But beware of dismissing the editors in your life. It’s the feedback you really need. Editing and accountability are about exposing blind spots. Of course, blind spots are by definition, well… blind. You can't see them. Someone else can bring just the right fresh perspective you need.
You tell your friend, “I told Beth she was grounded until she got that starting position on the volleyball team.” That friend reminds you that you need to back off on the volleyball. “But she has the potential to be a starter,” you respond. Your friend responds, ”her potential is up to her. She’s a great kid. You need to back off.”
So you do.
Be a parent that allows accountability. We all need friends and editors for what we do. Via prayer, don't forget to include God in all the details. He has an amazing ability to clean things up.
By Eric Joseph Staples ©