Character Check – The Little Things Matter

As we creep up on the beginning of Lent, I find myself thinking about big questions.  We’re getting ready to launch our first online “retreat” and for the next few weeks until we get started, I want to toss out some food for thought. Some of these things will resurface in Matthew Kelly’s book. Others have more to do with parenting and how ought we go about giving our kids the best chance possible to live fulfilling lives. Today I want to talk about character.

Though I sense the phrase is probably much older, C.S. Lewis is said to have given us this wonderful bit of advice.. “do the right thing even if no one is looking”. Pretty solid advice, though I think sometimes if might be a bit betnoleftturnter to say “especially if no one is looking”!  We all run into some things almost on a daily basis (or worse, we DO these things… eeeeek!) that we know are just not the right thing to do.  And yet, we see them over and over.  Often they are small things – I’ll admit a major pet peeve of mine is when people make a left turn at a time and place that this isn’t allowed – but it is those small things which eat away at our soul.  We develop a tolerance for less than optimal behavior and like other things that we begin to tolerate, they escalate. Let me give an example you may recognize…..

…. so, maybe you get your car washed .. cleaned out, even vacuumed perhaps.  For the next few days following, you’re very careful about maintain that state. But then one day you toss something on the floor in the back, thinking you’ll get it later … you don’t.  Then a couple days later you leave something else .. this repeats .. and repeats and pretty soon you’re chucking leftovers from the drive thru back there and thinking nothing of it.  It’s just the way we’re wired it seems.

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Regardless of which side the aisle you call home, it is pretty hard to disregard the enormous contributions of Dr King.  He had this to say on the topic:

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So whether your own personal vice is making those left turns, playing with your mobile device while you are driving, skating out of household chores or any of the many little ways we fail to do the right thing every day, I invite you to ponder it a bit.  On one level, you are, of course, setting a rotten example for your kids.  And we can pretty much all agree that we shouldn’t that!  But also realize what you’re doing to yourself.  Every act away from the path weakens your resolve to do the right thing the next time.

Lent is coming … maybe you made a New Year’s resolution and maybe (well… probably), it already isn’t going so well. You don’t need to be a regular church goer to grasp that you can transform your life in 40 days. Psychology tells is it takes 21 days to make or break a habit.  You’re gonna get 40 days to do something that you haven’t berediscoverjesuscoveren able to pull off in half the time.  Immerse yourself in what could happen. And if you want some company on ride, join us for our Lenten journey through Matthew Kelly’s “Rediscover Jesus”. I’ll give you a hard cover copy of the book .. no strings. Engage when it feels right .. lurk when it doesn’t.  We’ll discuss, reflect and perhaps even argue .. and come Easter Sunday, we’ll all be better, stronger, more compassionate — and far more likely to do the right thing when no one is looking.  Drop me a line if you want to join us…

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Categories: Best Lent Ever

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