What’s most important?
I mean to you.
Not what’s critical.
It might not even be a priority.
…but it’s the MOST important thing in your life.
If you haven’t thought about it…
I’m thinking about that, right now.
Having a stroke does that to you.
No, this isn’t a joke.
I’m writing this from my hospital bed in Payson, Utah.
My male nurse’s name is Nate.
He’s going to give me an eating test in a few minutes.
Heh. Me. Eating test.
It’ll determine whether I get apple sauce…or a hamburger.
I want pizza.
Nate’s going down.
Not sure yet.
I just woke up the other day with the symptoms of a stroke.
The right side of my face stopped working.
Then it started to melt.
I can’t talk right.
My right eye won’t blink.
…and I struggle to eat.
But I’ll be damned if I’m not having pizza tonight.
Me at my most vulnerable today.
I’ve been pondering my life a lot lately, but having a life-threatening incident placed a spotlight on what mattered.
Being confined to a hospital.
Not knowing what’s happening to your own body.
Having no clue what my future now brings.
Having absolutely no control over what happens next…
Or who it will affect.
…and in the end, I asked myself two questions:
What’s MOST important?
…and What are my GOALS for this year?
(If I make it through the year.)
Just being honest here.
I don’t know why, but my heart keeps screaming…
“WRITE THIS DOWN!”
“HELP SOMEONE ELSE!”
“THIS IS WHAT THE EXPERIENCE IS FOR!”
So I’m writing two articles at the same time.
No matter what happens from this point on, I am determined to be grateful.
Pause for the food test.
First I have to prove I can drink through a straw.
Make sure I don’t choke—since my face is almost a half-inch lower on the right side.
…and the tongues not working right either.
Second, I have to eat a spoonful of…
Oh, Nate…you’re evil.
…an orchards diarrhea.
Passed…[…are you inSANE? YES, throw the rest away!] Eeeeewwwwww.
That’s it? I just have to eat a cracker?
Oh,…and not choke.
(Insert Rocky Theme Song)
I’d dance about at this point…
But I’m naked in a hospital gown.
AND there are strangers in the room.
(Guess who’s getting PIZZA!)
Knowing what’s MOST important changes your focus.
Not only that, it gives you power.
The will to reach for the seemingly impossible.
And it’s different for everyone.
For me, it’s FAMILY.
I don’t know of a single soul more blessed than I’ve been.
26 years of joy, married to my best friend.
Just to be in her presence makes me whole & happy.
We have 12 beautiful, intelligent, spit-fire children.
…and God knows I adore each of them.
The more I get to know them, the MORE I love them.
It’s impossible not to, because I love who each of my children are becoming.
So when this stroke hit, my mind raced over the course of my life.
Have I been a good father?
Do my children KNOW, not think, not believe…but KNOW that I love them?
Does my wife?[Do you?] Hehe.
Yup, she does.
But my mind ran deeper than this—and this is where it becomes personal on a whole new level.
A small portion of my beautiful tribe.
Have I raised the kind of family that will allow me to continue to do good, even after I’m gone?
That may sound odd, but think about it.
Have I empowered my children, or hindered them?
Have I taught them what’s truly valuable in life…
Or allowed society to tattoo vanity & selfishness on their minds and hearts?
That’s when peace washed over me.
I’m not a perfect man or father by ANY stretch of the imagination.
But I work each and every day to do what’s right by my family.
By my children.
…and that’s why, no matter what happens from here, it’ll be a happy ending.
I will live for generations, through those I love.
…and they will love each other.
My son Nathan, showing his Buckley =)
Would you like to know how to build family relationships that last?
It looks like my test results will be back in the next hour.
Before I hear my fate, I’d like to share some principles that have served me well.
…and dramatically blessed our family.
If you apply them consistently, you’ll see mighty changes also.
#1) LOVE THEM
The most powerful tool you will ever have, is love.
It provides courage.
In time, it overcomes all things.
But it’s not as simple as it sounds.
Too many put conditions on their love.
I’d bet you have as well.
But the true power of love comes when you can look at someone and see who they ARE, not what they’ve done.
It comes when you realize and accept that another person has intrinsic value.
Intrinsic value is an ethical and philosophic property. It is the ethical or philosophic value that an object has “in itself” or “for its own sake”, as an intrinsic property. An object with intrinsic value may be regarded as an end or (in Kantian terminology) end-in-itself.
It doesn’t matter what they look like.
It doesn’t matter what talents/skills they have.
It doesn’t matter who they know.
It doesn’t matter how intelligent they are.
They are valuable because they exist.
When you can see a person, in that light…something happens.
They truly become one of a kind, and epically beautiful.
#2) NOTICE THEM
Again, not as easy as it sounds, but this is simple.
But it’s hard…because it’s so simple.
Something wonderful happens when we are noticed by another.
When our efforts, flawed as they may be, are complimented.
It’s not always the results we should look for…but the genuine efforts as well.
Do you have struggles with someone you care about?
Perhaps a bad relationship you wish was better?
Take every opportunity to notice them.
…and comment on it.
Just make sure it’s positive and encouraging.
Develop the ability to see the potential.
See the progress.
See what they can and WILL be.
Then tell them.
#3) ASK, DON’T TELL
This is a hard one for most people I know.
But it’s not quite how it sounds.
Let me explain.
You are the ‘parent’.
But most parents use this office as a box to stand on, to berate children.
To control them.
It’s always seemed quite ignorant to me.
Seeing that the truth is three-fold:
ONE: We don’t know everything, no matter how many times you try to convince your kids.
TWO: ‘Because I said so’ is a power play that always (I repeat, ALWAYS) backfires over time.
(Not to mention a cop out for parents who work by personalities and not principles…)
…and THREE: You’re only a few decades (if that) further down the road of like than your kids.
I have never been guilty of using the phrase, “Because I said so.”
Ask my family.
Instead, I strive to explain WHY I want them to do what I’ve asked.
I take the time (when needed), to show my reasoning and my requirements.
Notice I did NOT say, ‘expectations’.
That’s because I AM the parent.
To go against the parent, there are consequences.
But not until I have asked, explained and expressed the requirements.
Which has an amazing effect upon strong-willed children.
I have 12 of those.
We develop confidence in each other through this process.
I know I can rely on my children to be obedient because they understand what I’m doing and why.
They, in turn, know they can rely on my love, fairness, and consistency.
Nothing I ask is unreasonable.
Do we have disagreements?
Do we have conflict?
But guess what?
We talk it through.
Even with Roman…and he’s only two.
My test results are back and it’s not what I was expecting.
It wasn’t a stroke.
Turns out I have Bell’s Palsy.
It’s a virus and it’s affecting my nerves and muscles.
So now I get to take extreme meds every 4.5 hours for the next couple weeks.
Doc says I have a pretty good chance of getting full function back with my face.
Which is good, cause I miss kissing my wife.
…and blinking’s nice too.
Yup, I’m grateful.
As I go through this, I have even more experience to help others…
I get to remain with my family…
AND I get pizza!
Now that I’m home, I have two bonuses for you!
What IS most important to you?
If the answer is FAMILY, I have two treats:
I’ve written a second article about this hospital adventure.
It’s been published on Mindsoak.me
The title is Goal Setting Theory: How To Ace The New Year And Beyond
Give it a read…I think you’ll like it.
It’s the other half
Secondly, I have a new book out!
Parenting Books That Work: 12 Fun Strategies to Build Strong Family Relationships
It’s $9.99 to buy, but completely FREE when you sign up for our newsletter =)