Hello everyone and welcome to today's episode where today we talk about how changing the way we think changes the way we relate to others. But before we get into this, I have two responses from listeners about prior episodes I want to share with you.
[Darlene’s text about people looking at their cell phones]
Randy from Pittsburgh who texted “I can't wait to get into my car to listen to this week's You Were Made for This episode! It is breakfast for my soul as I drive to work each Wednesday morning.”
Several weeks ago in episode 56, Changing How We Think, we examined 3 ways God transforms us into a new person by changing the way we think. Today we consider how our relationships can be transformed by changing the way we think.
Story number 1: How I changed from a subject centered to a child centered teacher. Subject matter vs. student orientation.
As a teenager, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher because I could work in a school building where I knew I’d be safe. Living at home didn’t feel safe. School buildings were safe.
Going away to college developed my love for history because of several exciting and passionate history professors I had.
During boring summer jobs in college I rehearsed in my mind what I would say on the very first day of my career as a history and English teacher. Worried kids would ask me history questions I couldn’t answer.
I got that first job where a new-teacher orientation was held a few days before students arrived for the first day of class.
Robert Kreuser, school superintendent, his memorable quote,
“Never fall in love with your own idea.” I wasn’t quite sure at the time what he meant.
I was excited to teach history, not kids. Kids didn’t appreciate it nearly as much as I did. The questions I feared from them never came. “When’s lunch?” and “How come you’re dressed so funny, Mr. Certalic” was about all they asked.
I was disappointed these kids didn’t have the passion for history that I did.
And as I got to know my teaching colleagues, I noticed there were two kinds of teachers, those who loved their subject matter, and those who loved kids.
At some point I began to consider Robert Kreuser’s quote, “Never fall in love with your own idea.” My own idea I had fallen in love with was that 13 year-old 8th graders should love history as much as I did. And my job was to instill this passion in them. I soon realized I needed another idea, a better idea.
The better idea came when I changed my thinking from being someone who taught history, to someone who taught students. It came when I changed my thinking to view history and English as a means to an end, not the end itself. Students were the end.
History and English was the context for impacting students who had a difficult and rocky relationship with their parents, who didn’t have any close friends, who were competing to be top students, who worried about even graduating because they were not gifted with a sharp mind, a student who got in trouble with the police, and one who had an abortion and felt guilt over it.
It was because I changed my thinking about teaching students vs. teaching history and English, that caused me to find great fulfillment in my career. I gave up my own idea, for a better one.
Story number 2: Stephen Covey paradigm shift/subway story from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
His thinking changed about the man in the subway when he got new information from him. Changed thinking changed his relationship.
If you forget everything else, here’s the one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode.
When we change how we think about people it keeps us open to the mystery and goodness that could be hiding deep inside of them.
Here’s what you can do in response to today’s show.
Consider the relationships in your life that you wish were better. They could improve, certainly, if the other person changed. But assume that’s never going to happen. What can you do to think differently about the people in those relationships?
Ask God to help you think about these relationships in ways that are still honest and true, but at the same time leaves room for grace, for understanding, forgiveness, and for assuming the best about the other person. Ask God to transform your thinking so you can look at life a little more from their perspective, and not just your own.
Take to heart what my old boss used to say, “Never fall in love with your own idea,” when it comes to your thinking about why your relationships aren’t the way you’d like them to be.
You could also listen to a related past episode, no. 43, Thankful for people different from me.
As always, another thing you could do is let me and your fellow listeners know what resonated with you about today’s episode, like Darlene and Randy did in the beginning of today’s episode. You can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Or you can send them to me in an email to email@example.com.
I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act. So that you will find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.
Now for Our Relationship Quote of the Week
Knowing another language is like having a second soul. ~ Charlemagne.
Think in terms of love language, know the love language of another. A second soul.
That’s all for today. See you next week. Bye for now.