I want better relationships, don’t you? And I don’t just mean with my kids, I mean with everyone. I feel like I spend more time thinking, writing, and talking about improving the relationships I have than I actually spend changing the them. I need to remember that doing this might be easier than most of us think it is. There are only two things necessary for change to occur; ideas followed by action.
Our example of the balance between ideas and action is Jesus. He didn’t only talk about healing the blind, He restored their sight. He didn’t only discuss the lame being able to walk, He made them walk. Jesus was a man of action and so I must be too because for things to change I must change.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
– Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
I often hear that proverb misquoted. People will say that we must commit out plans to the Lord, when in fact we must commit our actions. I’ve got to lead by example and so do you. Because if we’re going to be all that we were made to be then we need to take stock of who we are, and where we are, and who we want to be.
1. Be Proactive
Head for solutions before there are problems. If you initiate more you won’t need to respond as much. Don’t live in fear. Sometimes we don’t want to know the truth because, as Colonel Nathan R. Jessup once famously told us, we “can’t handle the truth.” But your ability to deal with the truth does not change the truth. Since the truth is what it is you must run to it not from it.
2. Be Responsive
When someone reaches out to you respond to their needs. Instead of just talking about the things you need to do, you should go ahead and help. Don’t just engage in wheel-spinning exercises, but do things that help people with real needs. People respond to people who help them. If there is a need try to be the person who helps. If your child asks for some water because they are thirsty give them some water. Being responsive is not hard and it helps people understand that you care about them.
3. Be Transparent
I believe that your life should be an open book. What you see is what you get. Your words and actions must be in alignment. Transparency includes admitting when you’re wrong. This is hard for many children and even harder still for adults. Admitting you were wrong to anyone can be very humbling but it is key in relationship building. Transparency leads to trust and trust is a precious gift.
4. Be Kind
As a concept it is easy to be kind but it can difficult to do. Sometimes when you’ve had a hard day and your kids are loud, and dare I say annoying, you must be kind to them. Because these are the moments when kindness is key. If you can be kind when you don’t want to be you’re a better person than most. You can make the world of difference with a kind word or deed.
5. Be Understanding
Everyone you meet is dealing with something that you are not aware of because most of us want to deal with our stuff behind closed doors. When those close to you face trouble they need to know that you are their ally and not their enemy. Life is hard and sometimes people just need someone who understands them. If you are not on the top of the list of people they come to for help you need to turn that around. If you are not their safe place they will find another one. Knowing that you understand will go a long way to making you their safe place. This is vital for us parents to understand.
I believe that these five things are really important in building trust and improving relationships. What can you add that has worked for you?
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.