Control Part II
A few days ago Pastor Michael blogged about the concept of giving up control in our lives, moving out of the way to let God work. This kind of message makes me squirm. You can read it here.
It sounds so easy: “we can significantly shape the way we accomplish [our] roles. However, we will never be able to control what others think and do along the way.” But in my day-to-day life, it is tremendously difficult to believe this and to put into practice.
But as I think about West End’s ministry, this is exactly the approach that most effectively engages the needs of our young people. Successful parents, youth ministers, and teachers show up with both high expectations and a wide range of acceptable variables. Anything can happen. Children cannot and should not be controlled. Our job is to create a safe environment where healthy choices produce healthy results, and unhealthy choices result in real-life consequences.
Danny Silk, author of one of my favorite parenting books Loving our Kids on Purpose, says “Powerful people do not try to control other people. They know it doesn’t work, and that it’s not their job. Their job is to control themselves.” If you have ever worked or lived with kids, you know this is not only challenging, but also the only way to de-escalate a problem. If I stay calm, I win. If I lose myself, I lose, even if the children finally do what I want them to do.
Yeah, I know. It makes me squirm too. But here’s one more Danny Silk quote to help us relinquish a little bit more control today:
“The myth of control is the birthplace of true powerlessness. It uses intimidation and punishment to try to control others but actually destroys the connection. If I want to protect our connection the only person I MUST control is me.”