This morning is unlike most mornings. Sure. I am sitting in my office with my feet propped up on my desk and my laptop in my lap (really, this is my normal working position). The sound of the downtown traffic speeds by my first floor window as people enter downtown Orlando for work. The air conditioning kicks on for the first time in the morning to drive out the stale collected air from the night before. All of these things happen as they happen every morning.
Today, however, is a new beginning. My oldest started high school. As I write, she is finishing up her first period class dressed, for the first time, in clothes of her choosing. Gone are the khaki shorts and polos from the K-8 school she attended. My oldest son is starting middle school where he gets to wear a red polo instead of blue, a rite of passage of sorts. He begins his day within the hour, handling the announcements on the school television station. My youngest began 5th grade and is opening car doors this morning as a valued member of the Safety Patrol. Even my wife has a new beginning. She is teaching second grade for the first time.
There was no dread in our house last night or early this morning – only excitement at the possibilities of the coming day.
If only we could begin every day in this manner, right?
A month ago I finished a book called Boundaries for Leaders by Henry Cloud. One of the many exercises suggested in the book involved making a list of worries. Cloud suggested making two lists. One list contains all of the things we worry about we can’t control. My list consists of family schedules, responses from potential clients, money (most of us are under the illusion we can control this), and the work ethic of others. Cloud says to spend 5 minutes every day reading this list. And, I added praying over the list asking God to help me not to focus on these things. Cloud says we are going to worry about these things anyhow. So, you might as well get them out of the way.
The second list contains things we can control. I wrote at the top, “My attitude.” I added the following to the list Cloud suggests I spend the rest of my day worrying about.
- My willingness to pray for solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems
- Attention to financial details
- Showing appreciation to the people with whom I work
- My schedule and how I spend my time on my work
- The quality of the time I spend in conversation with my wife and children
Today is a new beginning! And, possibly, every day will be a new beginning if I begin each one in this manner!!!
Steve Schneeberger is the Executive Director of the Youth Ministry Institute. Beginning in 1985, Steve began a vocation as a youth minister serving churches in Kansas and Florida. He is a 1981 graduate of Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, has a business degree from Baker University (1985) and a law degree from the University of Kansas (1988). He is married to Carol, an elementary school teacher and former counselor. They have three children. Steve consults, coaches and teaches Visioning, Organizing and Planning for Success, Budgeting, Helping Youth Over Developmental Hurdles, Beginning Leadership – Mastering the Core Competencies, Conflict Resolution and Expecting Great Behavior for the Youth Ministry Institute.