Ask Your Kids To Change Your Life

I'm thrilled about the recovery of spiritual direction in the church. Just as overweight people with bad habits can get in shape by working with a personal trainer, we grow spiritually when someone pushes us to change bad habits and recover good ones.

But if you don't have the time or inclination to pursue the discipline of spiritual direction, try this quick "cheat" instead. While relaxing with your teens, ask them to finish this sentence: "If I could change one thing about you, Mom (or Dad), I'd want you to be less ___________." Prohibit answers like "strict about curfew." The missing part of the sentence must be related to your character. And promise them you won't get defensive; anything goes, no parental rebuttals allowed.

I've just crawled to the finish line of a book deadline, for example, trying to convince myself that my work wasn't affecting the family or the atmosphere at home. But when I asked our boys to fill in the blank the other night, they both immediately answered, "stressed out about your writing." I stifled my defensive reaction by remembering the ground rules: no excuses. Guess it's time to haul my harried psyche and my writing vocation into the Holy Presence again. Thanks, boys. Ouch.

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