What A Simple T-Shirt Reminded Me About Family

My son wore a tiger t-shirt to school a couple of days ago that he got for Christmas.  This tiger on this t-shirt is not a cartoon or drawing, it is a real picture of one with a pretty fierce facial expression on it. 

As we walked past a few people in the hallway at his school, their comments alluded to that fierceness . . . everybody except for one teacher. This teacher looked at his shirt and said, “That tiger is so pretty, Paul! I think tigers are majestic to look at.” 

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Whoa! Her response stopped me in my tracks.  

What everyone else had seen as fierce/intimidating/scary, she saw as something different, a creature of majesty, mystery, and beauty, spurning a predictable response for an unpredictable one.  

How does this apply to our marriage and children?  Great question! Glad you asked. ☺

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Oftentimes as spouses and parents we focus on what’s right in front of us. For example, if your child tends to be quieter than other children, you may find yourself saying to them things like, “Why don’t you talk more?” or “Don’t you want to go spend time with your friends?” What if, instead, we considered how this child needs quiet time after school to re-energize them for the next part of their day? Or that maybe being quiet is what helps them maintain a level of socialization at school that they are most comfortable with?
 
What if your spouse never wants to go out to dinner parties? It can leave you feeling like he or she doesn’t value time spent with friends as much as you do. Or that he or she is disinterested. What if instead, you consider that although he or she doesn’t regularly want to attend dinner parties, he or she spends hours weekly, cooking your family meals and driving your kiddos to their extracurricular activities?  

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If you stop and value who your child or spouse truly is, and the multi-faceted gifts they bring to the table, you might just find yourself appreciating a different side of them instead of reacting to what you see on the surface. 

Take a minute to apply this analogy to an area that could use a look from a different angle. Are there relationships in your life where you’ve settled for the most obvious way of viewing them? Maybe a look from a new perspective is what’s needed to renew a sense of wonder and joy. 
 

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