“I can if I want to.”

My youngest son has been a bit cantankerous today.  I’ve had to corral and try to correct his attitude, his actions, and his words throughout the day.  And when I’ve had to say, “Don’t ________”, his common response today has been “I can if I want to!”

Now, civil liberties aside, I have to say that I vehemently disagree with my son’s assertion.  Indeed, while he may want to believe that he in fact can do whatever he wants to, it is my God-given responsibility to teach him that he most certainly can NOT do whatever he wants to.  All the hipsters out there might say I’m stifling his creativity, but their kids are brats.  And I’m not raising a brat.

The notion that we are all free to “do what we want to” is one that has become quite en vogue.  And I’d contend that it is that notion that has, more than anything else, aided in the denegration of our society.  Not only that, but that sense of freedom that says in essence “To thine own self be true” is exactly opposite to God’s design and desire for humankind.

My previous blog post was all about my recent trip to Kentucky; what I experienced, saw, and learned.  And I suppose that my thoughts here take a step away from that particular trip and closer to a truth that each of us must grasp, ingest, digest, and live out (I was going to say “excrete” but I thought that might be too crass).

Where are you right now?  Who is the person closest to you in proximity right now?  What needs are most obvious to you right now?  What needs that bless others are within reach right now?  What is stopping you from standing up and going to meet that need…right now?

Some thoughts that come to mind in response to those questions may be, “I hadn’t planned that.”, “I don’t have time for that.”, “I’m not comfortable with that.”, “I don’t know how to do that.”, or an otherwise “That’s not really something I’m willing to do.”

But when it comes to blessing others, I’d like to borrow the words from my Mom (which I suspect she “borrowed” from someone else)…”When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  I know it sounds like it’s straight out of some corporate playbook, filled with quips and inspirational sayings, but even on a spiritual level it’s all too true.

So, what is your plan to bless someone today?  No.  What is your plan to bless someone right now?  I’ve never seen a watch with a “sometime” on it and yet that is when we figure we’ll get around to doing that thing that would make that difference in that person’s life.

Last week, I took a dozen or so high school students to a nursing home.  I’d dare say that most if not all of them were uncomfortable with the concept of sitting, chatting, crafting, listening, or singing with nursing home residents.  It simply wasn’t something they were used to doing.  But you know what happened?  When we left 2 hours or so later, every one of them had become an expert in the areas of sitting, chatting, crafting, listening, and singing with nursing home residents.  And do you know who trained them?  They did.  Not with a how-to manual, not with a script, and not with a crash course from the nurses.  Giving themselves to the experience rendered its own beautiful benefits.  I’d even guess that some of them would go to our local nursing homes in our area and do the exact same thing.  I challenged them to consider just one hour a month volunteering at their local nursing home.

The nursing home is only one of millions of options when it comes to blessing others.  But no matter what the open door, there’s one thing that is sure to kill it: “I can if I want to” gone wrong.

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