I just finished reading the NY Times bestseller, Good to Great, by Jim Collins. While written as a business book, I found that it contained helpful information for parents that want to build and enjoy not just good, but GREAT families.
The main obstacle to GREATness, according to the author, is being satisfied with goodness. If we settle for good, he says, we will never get great. So where might parents settle for good?
We can settle for good when we become content with minimal conflict, superficial conversations, and behavior that doesn’t tarnish the family name. We can settle for good when there are no major problems and life feels fairly stable. We can settle for good when the kids get good grades, act compliant, and are generally pleasant to be around.
So why rock the boat when family life is good?
Because GREAT is available! If you are willing to risk it, fight for it, and get really really brave, GREAT is available.
What does a GREAT family look like?
• A GREAT family moves through not around conflict.
• A GREAT family talks about pain and problems in relationships.
• A GREAT family creates a safe place for differing opinions, thoughts and desires to be spoken, heard, and respected.
• A GREAT family discusses hard topics and controversial decisions.
• A GREAT family validates and empathizes with each other’s emotions.
• A GREAT family expects and accepts that mistakes will be made and instead of hiding them, they use those failures as opportunities to learn and grow.
• A GREAT family confesses their sins to each other and forgives each other, even if it takes a few days (or several months in our case).
• A GREAT family doesn’t sweep things under the rug; they deal with issues up front and out loud.
• A GREAT family laughs together, works together, plays together, and rests together.
• A GREAT family prays for each other because they know each other’s requests and needs.
The GREAT news is that GREAT does not require unusual skills. Great does not require extraordinary resources. Great doesn’t even require genius.
According to the book, GREAT just requires personal humility and intense will. The leaders of GREAT companies were not larger-than-life superheroes, but “seemingly ordinary people producing extraordinary results.” They were more concerned with the company’s success rather than their own image. And the same is true of GREAT parents, ordinary people serving an extraordinary God. If we can become more concerned with the inner heart of our family members rather than the outer image we display to the world—a demonstration of personal humility AND if we can put in the hard of work of drawing out real feelings and thoughts, making a safe space for authentic sharing, and persevering until resolution is reached—the mark of intense will, we too can move beyond the good and enjoy GREAT.
I came so that they could have life—
indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.
John 10:10 CEB
By Dale Skram
Mom of four
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach
Collins, Jim. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, HarperCollins, NY, 2001.