Investing in Memories

In 2012, my wife and I decided to be more mindful about investing our time in things that matter.  For example, we decided to start traveling to places and doing things we had only talked about until then.  We also decided to be more intentional about investing our time to create lasting memories with friends and family.

We started doing this with my wife’s sister, by meeting her husband and their 2 young boys in Disneyland in 2012 and 2013 and visiting them at their home in Arizona in 2014.  Each event was filled with a lot of laughs, goofing around, and time spent together.

Last week, they were in Oregon with us during Spring Break and we again spent time goofing around and enjoying each other’s company.  One thing that surprised me about this particular visit was how often our nephews said, “Do you remember when…?”  Their memories ranged from something we did a few years ago to something we had done just an hour prior.  Some of the events they remembered seemed so small and insignificant, I was wondering why they would even remember that; but regardless, they remembered, and wanted to know that we remembered too.

I mentioned this to my wife, as we talked about our decisions back in 2012 to be intentional about investing our time in making memories with loved ones.  It appears that our efforts are paying off.

It’s not terribly difficult to be intentional about investing our time in making memories.  Sure, there may be some monetary investment to get to the same place geographically, but once you’re together, making memories, especially with young people, is not that difficult.  We’ve found the following simple things work well for creating memories:

  • Spend time doing things where you’re interacting together.
  • Give others your attention by putting away technology and focusing on what you’re doing and who you’re with.
  • Goof off, be silly, laugh, and enjoy the time together.

What friends or family members of yours would you like to begin making lasting memories with?  Identify who they are, and make plans to begin creating opportunities to do so today.  The returns of lasting memories that will be shared for a lifetime are priceless.

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Lessons From My Father In Law

My wife’s father, Ron, passed away last week and I got to deliver a few words at his funeral.  Below is the text of that speech.

Ron taught me a lot about the important role fathers play in the lives of their daughters.  Unfortunately, most of his teaching came in the form of what not to do.  In the end, he was a man, by his own admission, if given a second chance, would have done things different.

I hope that these words can cause something to happen for a father that will result in an enhanced relationship with his daughter(s).

Whenever I think of Ron, the first word that comes to mind… is teacher.

Have you ever known someone that, just by their actions and how they lived their life, always seemed to be teaching?  Ron was like that to me. 

You see, Ron taught me more about women than any other person I know.

What Ron repeatedly taught me about women, and little girls, is that fathers have a significant impact in the lives of their daughters, and that daughters need their father’s love and affection. 

Ron was blessed with 3 wonderful daughters, and I got to observe him interact with them for almost 25 years.  During that time I came to understand just how true his teaching was.  And not just an understanding of, “Yes, fathers are important to daughters, and daughters need their fathers love.” 

No!  Ron demonstrated to me that fathers ARE important to daughters; and that daughters don’t just WANT their father’s love and affection… they NEED it.

Every interaction I witnessed between Ron and his daughters seemed underscore the importance of these points.  It was as if he were saying to me, “Are you getting this, Scott?  Are you paying attention?  Do you UNDERSTAND the importance of what I’m teaching you?” 

He also taught me that it doesn’t matter whether she’s 6 or 60; a daughter still needs her father’s love and affection. 

Dad’s with daughters, listen to Ron’s teaching.  If it’s been a while since you’ve shown your daughter love, affection, and acceptance; do so today.  If she’s sitting next to you, consider yourself blessed.  Grab her hand, or put your arm around her.  Kiss her on the head, press your shoulder against hers; put your lips up to her ear and whisper, “I love you.  I’m proud of you.” 

If she’s not with you now, then find her when you get home and do likewise. 

If she’s not geographically present, then call her, send her an email; put a nice card in the mail with words of love and adoration. 

These efforts are so small, yet the positive impact they have in the life of your daughter is massive by comparison.

And if you’re a dad here who’s thinking, “I’ve never done the things Ron taught you.  I haven’t’ shown my daughter love, affection, or acceptance.  In fact, I’ve done a horrible job in this area… and I’m afraid it’s too late.” 

For you, Dad, I’ve got great news!  Here is the most important lesson Ron taught me on this topic…

You can begin today!  Start showing her your love and affection. It’s not too late.  YOU CAN BEGIN TODAY!

Because it’s never too late to start.  Unless you wait… until it’s too late to start.

We All Respond Different

My wife’s dad just passed away today (13-Mar-15) after just short of 7 years on dialysis.  Her father wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so it’s been fascinating to see how people are responding, based on their experiences and perspectives.

It reminds me that we don’t all see the world the same way.  Our views are shaped by our unique experiences and perceptions.  Since no 2 people have the exact same experiences in life, it makes sense that people often have differing views.

I think we can get into trouble when we believe that our view, based on our own personal experience, is the only way to view a person or situation.  If we’re not careful, we can do great damage to our relationships by trying to convince others that their perspective is wrong, and that we know, better than they do, how they should think and feel.   We clearly don’t, and it would be arrogant of us to think otherwise.

The next time you’re in a situation where people have perspectives that differ from yours, realize that that’s ok.  Not everyone will feel the same way you do about a topic or person, so allow people respond or have their own opinion, even if it’s different from your own.  Who knows, you might gain a whole new perspective that changes your thinking.

Pushing Through Confusion

I love starting something new, whether it’s a hobby, learning a new skill, or any other new endeavor in an area of interest.  There’s so much anticipation, motivation, and momentum at the beginning.  It really is an exciting time.

One of the reasons I think there is so much motivation and excitement at the beginning is because shortly after starting, things get confusing, and we’ll need that motivation to help carry us through the confusion until we start seeing results.

Start Confusion Results

It makes sense that we would become confused soon after we get started, because we are attempting something brand new to us.  Naturally, we don’t have a whole lot of experience in the area, so therefore, we’re going to have a lot of questions and get confused.

This is the point where most people give up on their worthy pursuit, because they can’t see past the confusion of what to do next, or how to do it.  They lose sight of the potential results and give up way too soon.  I know.  I’ve done this.

Perhaps it’s time to change our perception of the confusion phase of this process, and look at what the confusion also holds for us, like:

  • Opportunities to stretch our boundaries and comfort zone
  • New experiences that increase our knowledge and capacity to move ahead
  • The chance to meet new people who are doing what we want to be doing, and who can teach and encourage us along the way
  • The sense of accomplishment we’ll experience when we make a breakthrough and overcome an obstacle that the confusion initially presented

Here’s the cool thing about confusion: it only remains until we take decisive action to move past it.  If we want to remove the confusion, we simply need to seek guidance from people who have already done what we’re attempting.  This can take the form of reading books, watching a YouTube video, or reaching out to someone and asking for assistance.

Where are you struggling with the confusion that occurs between beginning and seeing results?  If you’re feeling overwhelmed and confused, that’s ok.  Take a minute.  Understand what you’re confused about that’s keeping you from moving ahead, and then take specific action to remove that confusion, like seeking guidance through reading, observation, or conversation with someone who can help.

Whatever that next action is, take it today.  You’ll feel great about making progress, and be armed with a new-found confidence to help you tackle the next confusing obstacle you face.  You’ll probably also be amazed at how much you’re learning and experiencing as you become more skilled at pushing through confusion.