On February 2, 2019 I shared a live stream about the sequence from mothering, to fathering, to eldering. Central to the proposition is that each season of our life requires a different set of values than fathering.
This is the first blog in a lengthy series exploring that topic.
If you wish to explore the background, here is a link to the original broadcast.
My definition of a value is “An abstract concept, you voluntarily embrace, at the expense of personal comfort.”
Some simple pictures.
Fred graduates from high school and gets a job because he wants things now.
Jack graduates and promptly enrolls in university, even though it will cost him a lot of time, will necessitate immense amounts of coffee and will require him to defer gratification in a number of areas for a few years.
Jack is not forced to go to the university. He has a value system that causes him to believe it is worth while to voluntarily embrace this pain.
Tom and Harry are both going to lose weight. Tom embraced the pain of dieting. Harry embraces the pain of going to the gym. Same objective. Different values – meaning different pain each is willing to embrace.
Now the kicker lies in people mistaking their desires or wishes for values.
Most of us have very good desires but our values are considerably lower than our desires.
Johnny decides to join the Army. He knows that boot camp is pretty physical. His desire is to go in and shine. He has six months before reporting and his plan is to go to the gym, bulk up, so he can cruise through boot camp.
The reality is that he makes the decision to sleep in one day at a time and has a dozen other intrusions in his life that keep him from getting to the gym as often as he should. Consequently, He shows up at boot camp in pretty ordinary condition.
His desire did not cause him to embrace the pain of getting in shape. And he did not have the values that drove him to embrace the pain voluntarily. So, at this point, the DI will see to it that he embraces the pain involuntarily, since he does not have the right values.
This is a constant rub between leaders (who have high values and have embraced a lot of pain) and people who want to run with them.
The prospect has wonderful desires. His ambitions and his vision are amazingly altruistic and noble. If Nobel Prizes were given for the excellence of his desires, he might have several.
But realistically, he makes a thousand small choices which are about comfort, not excellence. He avoids voluntarily embracing productive pain.
The leader can easily see that the prospect lacks excellence, so he turns him down for the job since the job requires high values.
The prospect is offended and insulted because he MEASURES HIMSELF BY HIS DESIRES, NOT HIS ACTUAL VALUES.
But his lifestyle tells the tale.
And the leader can see it.
That is how he got to be a leader – he can tell the difference between someone with great desires and someone with great values.
It shows in their lifestyle choices.
As I move from being a father to being an elder, I will need to embrace different kinds of pain. And I will only consistently make the right choices to embrace those strategic moments of productive pain, if I have carefully built in the values needed to support that painful lifestyle.
This series of blogs will begin with an evaluation of the existing value system that supported the fathering season of my life.
Each one will be weighed to see if it is still central to the new objective. If not, it will need to be pushed to the back.
When the evaluation of the existing structure is done, I will then look at what new values need to be embraced to achieve the objective.
I have not walked this way before. I don’t know what the outcome will be of either phase of exploration. I plan to do it transparently here.
Because THAT is a value that will remain constant in the new season.
Even though it costs me a lot of pain.
Copyright February 2019 by Arthur Burk
I like Your open and vulnarable analysis. I myself wrestle with Parra in my soul that neer the Love of a mother and the afffirmation of a father, while in my profession I endured the pain of my choises in being a leader in bringing change and transition. Being responsible, transparant and integer.
However, I feel now the need to look for more healing to grow in fathering, eldering seems nog in reach for me now. .
Elouise - yes, I recorded "Blessing Your End of Life" with Arthur. Thank you for the kind words! Here's a recording of one of the pieces that I mentioned on the recent "Healing Womanhood" interview with Megan - it's a 16th century motet celebrating the birth of Christ, and is a personal favorite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdO-rYUyduk
Thank you, Cynthia!
I’ll have a look at that again! Are you Cynthia Harris, the musician of the beautiful music on ‘Blessing Your End of Life”? If you are, I would love to know what music you listen to. You compose beautiful music!
Hi, Elouise! If you listen to "An MRI of Fathering," the whole hiring for chemistry thing comes into focus & makes sense in a grid of personalities, abilities, giftedness, etc. Even aside from that, it's one of my favorites!
This was a real stop-and-think blog. I can already see that the rest of today & the coming days will involve examining my own thought & belief structure (and what I've done to implement them) to analyze which are real values & which are just my desires. At this point, I don't know! I've never heard anyone talk about this before. I am taking a big gulp at the launch of this season, because, yes, I can see that this one is going to hurt. But better to embrace the pain & emerge into more of the truth, into light.. Thanks for including us in this part of your journey.
I love this, thank you. I appreciate the glaring honesty and the ‘to the point’ lists of values. I have never seen the values on the SLG website until today (and I’ve been hanging around for a few years). What a nice surprise!
The only one that surprised or baffled me, was the ‘hiring for chemistry’. I didn’t think that was a value for SLG, not that it’s a bad value. Just a surprising one.
Wow! Ouch...not sure which one I should be saying first, being completely authentic here, I have been confusing desires with values in certain areas of my life. Taking a pause to evaluate with God what is true to my character level values and what are merely desires that honestly get pushed to the back burner without the value to drive them. Is it this simple?
Replied by : Arthur Burk
This is a powerful truth so rarely if ever discussed in the church. Very challenging to me personally. I appreciate your transparency and honesty. Thank you.