How’s Your Vision?
It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.
~ Helen Keller
See Into and Not Through
There’s a wonderful picture on my desk at work. Several years ago, my two stepchildren created a collage of their toddler pictures along with a picture of their youngest brother Nathaniel. It’s done in sepia and with the exception of their different outfits it genuinely looks like they all posed together at the same time. My two stepchildren are now young adults living on their own, but whenever I look at their picture I’m reminded they were once young children who had their hopes and dreams of their family take a tragic and unexpected detour when their parents divorced.
How do you see your family – your spouse and stepchildren? Do you see through them or into them? How do you interact and communicate with them? Does the world revolve around you? Are you so self-absorbed you can only think about your world, your problems, your schedule and your priorities? Are your interactions with your family only at a surface level, routine and insincere? Or do you connect with your family at a deeper heartfelt level?
Characteristics of Seeing Through a Family
Here are characteristics of a stepparent that sees through their family:
- Sees only the consequences of a family member’s actions and not the pain and struggle they are going through that cause them to behave in a certain way.
- Sees an opportunity to ask a question but hopes they don’t have to listen to a lengthy answer that takes up too much of their time.
- Sees a chance to provide a solution before having a real understanding of the family member’s need.
- Sees someone in need and responds with scripted words of encouragement and affirmation without taking the time to really listen and speak into the person’s situation.
- Fails to see his family at all and is oblivious to the shattered lives, broken relationships, and struggles going on all around him.
To be a stepparent that sees into your family members especially your stepchildren is difficult. It requires courage, self-sacrifice, patience, persistence and the desire to engage your stepchildren wherever they are in life. When you see into your stepchildren, you are looking for how you can bless them and are not engaging them for what you are going to get out of that interaction.
You should expect to get your hands dirty. You may find yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Your wallet may not be as fat as it was before, and you may need to schedule time in your calendar to serve your family.
When you see into your spouse and her children you acknowledge they are more than their struggles, choices, and behavior. They are just like you: desiring love, affection, success, encouragement, and a helping hand. Take the time to see into your stepchildren and build a relationship with them. Get Ron Deal’s book Smart Stepfamily, The: Seven Steps to a Healthy Family by clicking on the book below.
The Smart Step-Family
Ron Deal explodes the myth of the “blended” family by providing practical, realistic solutions to the issues that step families face. He helps remarried and soon-to-be married couples:
- Recognize the unique personality and place of each family member,
- Solve the everyday puzzles of step parenting and stepchildren relationships,
- Learn communication skills to deal with ex-spouses,
- Honor families of origin while developing new traditions, and
- Invest the time to grow their step family slowly rather than look for instant results.
No two step families are alike, and the principles, information, illustrations, discussion questions, and activities in The Smart Step-family help couples focus on their specific situation to build healthy marriages and peaceful families. Based on Ron Deal’s nationwide step family seminars, this material is equally helpful for couples, small groups, pastors, and counselors.