Building a Better Tower

When I was a kid we used to go over to my Grandma’s house around the holiday seasons.  The drive was over ten hours with little breaks. My sister and I were crammed in the backseat like sardines.  It was crazy. As we pulled into Grandma’s driveway late at night I remember our family unloading the vehicle, going inside, and settling down.  The adults would venture into the kitchen to talk, while I would wonder into my Grandma’s closet in search of a large box of Dixie cups. Those cups were more than small plastic water containers; they were an opportunity to build a tower that reached the sky in the living room.

After my architecture masterpiece was completed, I would call Grandmother into the room to show her my beautiful artwork.  She would warmly agree that my tower was beautiful. She respected my work by offering praise for a job well done. Then, she would point out a few structural flaws, offering suggestions on how to rebuild the tower to be stronger.  She would give me a few challenges, empowering me to tear down the tower and start over, achieving a new goal. She would kiss my cheek and tell me she was proud of my work and go back into the kitchen awaiting my next endeavor.

Was my Dixie cup tower a masterpiece?  Probably not. Were there structural flaws with my tower? Absolutely. However, Grandma chose to address me as a person in a warm, respectful tone.  Her warm, respectful assurance gave me confidence to build another tower that would be even better than the last. I wanted to make her proud.

We often place issues higher than people. The tower is often more important than the architect. When a person struggles, their work struggles.  When a person is not functioning well internally, the work suffers externally.

Simple principle: treat the issues coldly and people warmly.

You can deal with an issue by being direct and firm (cold) but you don’t have to be a jerk. Build up brothers and sisters so that they can see the potential they have inside of them to build a better structure than they had before (warm).  When we focus on the person in a warm tone and the issue in a cold manner productivity soars. Things need to get done I know.  However, think of how much better the building will be when the person building the tower is healthy and confident. People need to know they are important, that they matter, and that they are valued. We must be careful not to treat people coldly as this can strip one’s self-esteem and integrity.

As issues arise (which they will), we must remember that “the tongue has the power of life and death… those who love it will eat it’s fruit” (Proverbs 18:21). Therefore, to do the work of the Lord is to treat people in a dignified manner.  Our opportunity is to help “build a better tower” and that happens by building up our people.

Think of a difficult person or situation in your life right now that needs confronted. How can you build up the difficult person (be warm) to resolve the issue (cold)?

Remember, people matter and need to be empowered.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

To handle yourself, use your head; To handle others, use your heart.” Eleanor Roosevelt

-jordan

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