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Article #3 – Family

On the main web site, we encouraged you to do some vision work, thinking about FAMILY.  We suggested you do some writing about your experience- what you saw and how it made you feel.  This BLOG expands upon that idea.

Steve’s idea of FAMILY got reinvented in Navy bootcamp.  I had an opportunity to “try out” for the SEALS program.  At the end of the rigorous three hours of physical trials a burly SEAL administrating the exercise hauled me up off the floor shaking my hand saying, “You got sand sailor.  The SEALS are the best FAMILY anyone would want.  You qualify to come to our California base for training.  If you pass muster, you become one of us!” Coming from a difficult FAMILY experience, it felt good to be wanted.

FAMILY is much broader than Although blood relationships certainly count, the entire real FAMILY are those people who are emotionally connected to you, blood or not.  There can be a soul dynamic to this as well.  Are there people, who if they called, you would drop everything and respond?  Would they respond to your call?  Cultivating those kinds of relationships at a soul level elevates them to become FAMILY.  It is an intentional decision to cultivate these kinds of relationships, to invite people into your world which allows them to potentially invite you into theirs.

As we were stepping off the stage after a speaking engagement at a local high school, a physically fit middle-aged Hispanic man approached the gathering crowd.  He stood off to the side toward the back waiting for the crowd to thin out.  He shyly asked if we could grab some coffee someday.  We built a soul-to-soul relationship over the next few months one cup at a time.  We became FAMILY!  He has met two of our sons, helping them both.  We have been introduced to members of his “FAMILY” as well.   One early Saturday morning I arrived at the coffee shop he chose in his neighborhood.  He wanted to introduce me to “the hood” food he grew up eating.  Being early I was escorted to a table for two and asked for coffee while I waited.  After a few minutes I could sense the tension in the room as the furtive glances continued.  As a gringo I had somehow broken protocol just by being there.  John Jr.- a little bit late but actually just in time- walked in “reading the room.”  He walked over fist bumped me and announced to the gathering crowd, Hey, this is my brother!  Relax!

Recently, I had a thought run through my mind like a freight train: Call John Jr. time for breakfast.  Sometimes work and life get the best of me.  I just emotionally and spiritually wear down.  John Jr is an effervescent, contagious, nutritious man.  He asked for coffee and now he is soul food for me.  I receive more than I give……FAMILY.

This rest area of your soul road map can be a continuous grocery store of soul food as you reinvent and redefine your FAMILY.  Who comes to mind?  If you invested time with those people, would they become FAMILY?  The return on that investment is not just compounding but exponential.  You get back multiples of whatever you invest.  And be prepared to embrace people very different from you.

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