Wednesday, August 11, 2010

P4E.169 My Dad Always Said: "People Over Things"

Actually, I never heard "People over things," until my wife, Gwen, introduced me to the idea. So, it's a saying I've co-opted, but that I've been hypocritical about. Nevertheless, It's a concept I hold dear, that I aspire to and want to pass on to my sons.

"People over things" means that I value relationships and people's feelings over objects. The world places a high value on money and the things that money can buy. God, on the other hand, places little value on money and high value on people. I naturally have a worldly outlook on life and when I go with what comes naturally I get in trouble and act like a hypocrite. So what does this look like on a day-to-day basis?

I did not have this concept modelled for me earlier in life. I remember when I was about 17 years old I drove my younger brother to work in the family car. I got in an accident on the way home, which caused quite a traffic jam. And who would be stuck in that traffic jam on the way home from a long day at work? My father. By the time he was through, I was quite convinced that he cared a lot more about the car (and the consequences of the accident) than he did about me.

It shames me to tell you that years later, I would repeat this scenario as a father with my own son, David. I tell the story here. Again, at a certain point, I'm sure David was convinced that I cared more about the car than I did about him. Even more recently, I unfairly blamed my youngest son, Ben, for making me spill cranberry juice on our beige carpet. A little later I apologized, but I could still see the damage I had done by that one incident in Ben's eyes.

So, on a day-to-day basis part of what I mean by "people over things" is that I forgive, overlook, minimize when people misuse, damage or break my things. The thing is NOT as important as my relationship with the person, especially if that person is my dear wife or child. It's more difficult to put into practice than it sounds and I think men have a more difficult time with the idea than women do.

So, given that I have only sons, I encourage you boys all the more to value "people over things."

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