I, Jonathan, was a sophomore in high school and I was excited for school. This usually didn't happen to me, school was usually something I slept through and then got a B or C on a test and went on to the next grade. This year though I was pumped. I was taking a class that I found very interesting. It combined my love for history and my love for things that were so outlandish they couldn't possibly be real but they were cool. It was Mythology Class.
My first day of class I walk into the room to see Mr. Bennet standing at the front of the room. I had heard about him but seeing him was completely different. He was a slender, grey haired, giant standing awkwardly at the front of the room. Imagine him as the oddball professor in a movie, who was just a little quirky and had a mustache that wiggled as he talked. He seemed like a fun yet odd man, but none of that could have prepared me for the first thing he said to us in that class. Each year he would begin his classes with his famous “Driftwood” speech. My paraphrased version goes something like this: “There are many kinds of wood that have all different kinds of uses. They achieve something and go somewhere on purpose, but not driftwood. Driftwood doesn’t really do anything and never arrives anywhere on purpose. So don’t be driftwood. Don’t float in and out of my class physically or mentally. And if you are driftwood, drop my class now.”
Please be glad I shortened that because when I think back to it, I’m pretty sure it lasted about 90 minutes. But still to this day, years and years down the line, I still remember that speech. I remember the driftwood that “never ends up anywhere on purpose." It is really a lesson we can apply in so many ways. We see people apply it all the time in their careers, for their kids, and even in businesses and churches. I really believe though that if we don’t get this concept in one area of our lives, we might be missing something huge. This area is in our family.
As the “man of the house” there seems to be a certain amount of pressure. To lead and to steer our family to where it is supposed to go is the weight that we as fathers and husbands bear. It is the authority I believe that has been created into families and given to us by God. Some fathers do this well and others seem to let chance and circumstance guide their family. Like driftwood, I see numerous families go along until one day they look around and realize they have landed somewhere, and many times they don’t like where they landed.
I don’t want that. I won’t have that. And so to my family I want to say, "We will not be a driftwood family."
And so here are my family's core values. These are the things we believe in and live by. These are the things we hold close. This is how we avoid being driftwood.
DISCLAIMER: As you read these values you will notice an absence of
God and Jesus. This is because I believe that Christ is not a value
of our life; He is our life. We are a family centered around Christ,
because when you have truly accepted what Christ has done for us, I
don’t believe that is a value you hold, but it is a way you live. And
when you know Christ, there is no other way to live, than to live for
Him, and that includes our families.
4 Core Values:
We are the Greatest Influence
As a family, I believe that we are the greatest influence in each other's lives. We are the ones we live with, eat with, talk with and put up with. Meaning we have the biggest impact on each other more than anyone or anything else. Because of that, we will maximize our influence. We will not dole out the responsibility of being the main teachers, pastors, mentors, comedians, and friends out to anyone else.
Prime Time is Family Time
The best part of our days are when we are all together. Those family moments that we make around the dinner table and reading on our huge sectional are priceless. We will not sell them away for more time, more money or more of anything else.
A family that stays together . . . well stays together. We are a family that is better together than we are apart. We will be best friends because we do everything together. In a world that has so many things that sends the family in different directions, we will stay together. If one person does a sport or activity then the family is there with them; that's the way we role.
Love Like We’re Not Scared
We will be a family that loves like we are not scared. We will give because that is love. We will accept because that is love. We will walk into someone's mess because that is love. There may be some scary things that come with loving in that way, but we will love like we’re not scared. Some people may warn that doing some of the things we do out of love will invite negative results into our family, and that is true, but if I can teach my children only two things in life then I want it to be to love God and to love others.
So no, we will not drift around aimlessly, but we will be a family on purpose. Years down the road when we look back we may see we have missed some things in life, but I believe we will see we have gained so much more.
-- Jonathan, husband and dad of the family