Words generally NOT included to describe my personality include:
You get the point. It’s not that my life is bad; I actually have a splendid life. My days are filled with positive work, a beautiful home, a magnificent wife, amazing children, wonderful friends, an outstanding church and much more. Life is good; however, my demeanor does not typically reflect this as one might expect. It’s not that I am depressed or even in a continually bad mood – I am just particularly unemotional.
One of the many troubles with this is the fact that I tend to dim the spirits of those around me. While I know this is true, I always felt that there were more important things to attend than my mood’s effect on others. The problem with this is that I fully believe great leadership is founded in positive influence. This is something that I seek to utilize for the good of others in so many ways; yet, I have failed to clearly recognize that one of my greatest areas of influence at work, church and especially at home is the atmosphere or tone I set for the personal environments I walk into.
This leads to a recent revelation…
I love one-on-one time with my wife and children. During those times, I am typically a more outwardly happy person than the norm. The course of my family’s life has resulted in a great deal of these personal occasions with my 13 year old son, Samuel. Because of the frequency of these interactions, I have often associated happiness with Samuel. The boy is always pleasant. All of the positive words I used at the beginning of this post could be used to positively describe Samuel 100% of the time and it is infectious. I always believed that my joyful times with Samuel were a direct correlation to my love for being with him. While I still believe that is true, I received a little bit of clarity this week leading to a theory I am testing.
Earlier this week, I was driving Samuel to school. As usual, we were having a great time. When he got out of the car, I told him that I loved him and headed to work. There is usually a bit of a let down quickly following his departure, but this day was different. I was smiling, thinking about good times and singing. What was I singing? Music from a local Christian radio station. Ah, Samuel usually plugs in his phone to listen to his music when we are riding together, but today he had simply turned the radio to a station he likes. I let the music play all the way to my office.
When I sat in my office, I began to reflect on the wonderful morning and thank God for my son and how happy I am when I am with him. I began to consider the fact that I still felt happier than normal and paused to give that some thought. Could it have been the music? Maybe? I wonder why Samuel is always so happy?
As I began to ponder this, a verse I learned as a child came to mind:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
– Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
In that moment I realized that this verse could be the mantra for Samuel’s life. He always surrounds himself with positive things. His reading, friends, music, television and movie choices are always uplifting. He even seeks to purposefully remove himself from negative influences. Could it be that he naturally understands what God was sharing through Paul so many years ago?
I don’t know, but I am giving it a try. My first change was to maintain the radio change from harsh political commentary and negative news outlets to inspirational music. I am looking to follow my son’s lead and remove myself from negative influences. I am only 4 days into this and my family has already noticed a change. Thank you, Samuel, for teaching me the power of positive.