Family Value: Self-Motivated

My childhood required me to be self-motivated and driven. It was in part to survive but also because I wanted something new that I hadn’t experienced before.

My wife and I are very self-motivated and driven. This means that we don’t need someone telling us what to do every corner. We do need advice, some guidance, and support along the way. But our dreams and hopes give us fuel to be motivated.

We also value freedom and personal responsibility. Our work will need to speak for itself. The way we carry ourselves and care for others will be signs of our freedom and taking responsibility.

We hope to pass these values on to our boys. We know their path will look different than others. We don’t expect them to be like us or to do the things we do. But we hope that they will learn the value and practices of being self-motivated and to take personal responsibility.

I’m not the smartest person. Really. I’m not. But these values and actions push me to exceed my limited “smartness”.

Self-motivation and drive translates into practices of living out of my hopes and dreams, my goals. It means I’m going to think through my goals and how to reach them. It means I’m going to ask others for help along the way. It means that I don’t need someone telling me, step by step, how to live my life but instead to encourage me to keep discovering, being aware, and taking responsibility.

It’s a different way to parent as well.

My kids grades are a reflection of multiple layers. While I care about the letter, I care about the effort and motivation. And it’s their grades to own. Yes, they need support and we’re here for them. Yes, they might not like certain subjects and struggle with some areas. But ultimately, we want them to own their studies.

There is a lot of empathy and grace for this process. Especially during the pandemic. 🙂

Illusions of Fixing and Midpoints

Sometimes when we think about a problem, there is a tendency–a knee jerk reaction–to immediately come up with a solution, a fix. And sometimes that’s the right course in circumstances that require an immediate fix. But most do not. Most problems will require slowing down, listening, and noticing how you’re reacting. Some defaults include avoiding the issue, reacting too fast to it, or figuring out how to avoid the pain of it.

Fixing issues can also become addictive. I can become an addiction so to speak. We’re so fixated on fixing the issue for the sake of the “fix”, not so much to address the real underlying issues.

In this state, we bypass wisdom and instead want to solve the issue at whatever means necessary. This has caused more problems in my life. Someone yesterday said, “Americans’ don’t like to hear ‘NO'”. He was very right. I don’t like to hear NO. So I find ways to get my way. And this is where the addiction type behavior starts.

Fantasizing about fixes.

Going through different scenarios and options.

Trying to play it all out in our imagination.

When my mind goes to these places, it’s time to SLOW DOWN, to pay attention to what I most need to do in that moment: SURRENDER. Pause. Listen.


Psalm 102 (NRSV)

23 He has broken my strength in midcourse;
    he has shortened my days.
24 “O my God,” I say, “do not take me away
    at the midpoint of my life,
you whose years endure
    throughout all generations.”

Recently, I’ve been parallel reading the New Revised Standard Version with the New International Version. I hadn’t realized how much more I like the NRSV. For example, in today’s reading, I came across the verse above. Just yesterday, I was talking to someone about midlife.

What I’m learning about midlife is that the set of rules that worked for the first half of life (mainly survival and identity making) no longer work. In the MIDPOINT of life, it seems that if one wants to have a deeper spirituality and relationships, we must undergo what happens in v.23:

“he has broken my strength in midcourse…”

The first half of life strength seems to be broken in midlife. The rules seem to change. The desires seem to rumble for something more, something deeper. Like strength and motivation are zapped. And it’s at this point that the writer asks for a new strength.

“Don’t take me away at the midpoint of my life.”

It feels like there is a death happening and we wonder if there will be a new birth, a new season, a new life. God is an enduring presence throughout all generations. In some ways, we want our lives to be enduring in the midpoint of our lives.

I pray for that today.

Piano Recital 2012: NAILED IT!

Christopher and David had their first piano recital since starting lessons in March.  They performed very well, staying calm and focused as they played.  I thought maybe they would be shy with everyone looking at them.  But they weren’t.  They were focused and performed their pieces well.

Christopher played “Party Cat” and “Merrily we’re off to school”, while David played “Night Shadows” and “Balloon Ride”.  We’re so proud of them.  They’re really enjoying their lessons and playing.  The rule is that they have to learn how to play the piano, site read and then they can choose whatever instrument they’d like to focus on.

My hope is that they’d love music and create life through it.  If I could dream big….hmmm….”jazz/latin jazz, hip-hop, r&b, funk” fusion sound at concerts, in the studio, in small clubs, at church, at home, around the world!  🙂  Music with meaning.  Music for the heart, from the heart.  Music expressing the creative heart of God.  I hope….

Love you, musician-champs!

David’s Recital:

Piano Recital 2012
Piano Recital 2012

Piano Recital 2012
Piano Recital 2012