Sunday, March 1, 2009

Family Business

Our stake held a conference yesterday on family relationships. Since my kids are grown and Ben and I seem to be getting along, I almost didn’t go, but I went. It was great, and I want to share a few things which were taught:

The speaker held up two bottles with lids. One had clear water inside. The other was a green bottle containing Sprite. She shook them both while she talked, explaining that the bottles represented women driving a van on the freeway with lots of kids, books and homework, and a dog. Someone pulled in front of each van, cutting them off, causing the driver to slam on her brakes and upsetting everyone and everything in the car. The speaker stopped shaking the bottles. She said the bottle with Sprite in it represented a woman who was reactive, defined as a person who reacts in the moment. She asked us if she should open the bottle. None of us wanted her to take off the lid, as we could see the white foam inside. The second bottle represented a women who was proactive, someone who chose her response based on what she values. She opened the lid, and there was no foaming or spewing.

The point was obvious – are our values held tightly enough that they affect how we act in difficult situations?

I wrote down some quotes:

Words either lift us or crush us.
Don’t let the past hold your future hostage. Look forward.
Common sense is not always common practice.
The first step in communicating is not talking. It’s listening.

The speaker’s husband spoke. He described a rhetorical flight from LA to NYC. He explained that 80% of the time (I’m taking his word on this) the plane is not on course. The wind or other weather patterns can cause the plane to drift off course, but because this plane has a definite flight plan, it will land in NYC. He said that often families get pushed off course, but if we have a flight plan, we will correct as often as necessary, pulling ourselves back in line with where we want to be. The analogy was clear. I liked that.

The husband also told us, at the end, that as he knelt in prayer to ask for guidance in what he should say to us about families, he felt inspired to take off his shoes. He realized that the topic of families was very sacred to God.