Soon I’ll begin what my family and friends call the “Fall Travel Season;” over ten weeks I look ahead to 26 speaking engagements and . . . 48 nights in hotels. Do I enjoy it? Absolutely. It’s an honor to get to do what I do.
But, I miss my family, too.
To prepare for my time away, I sat down with my youngest two boys (ages 10 and 8) and decided to give them a mission; one easy task which would focus them on something other than, “Daddy doesn’t get back until Friday.”
My hope is that when Fall Travel Season is over and I’m back in the house every day and all day for several months, they will have picked up a habit which will get their days off to a good start. The simple task? Make Your Beds.
We sat down and watched a clip of Admiral William H. McRaven giving a 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas, which begins, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
What follows in the video are his reasons why something as plain and drab as making a bed can make such a big difference. It’s fascinating, motivating and after watching this for the first time a couple of years ago, each morning when I or my wife make our bed, I look at this seemingly small accomplishment differently.
And as Admiral McRaven points out, if all goes wrong throughout the day, at least one can say, “I made my bed.”
As we finished the clip, in my fatherly tone (whatever that sounds like) I said to my boys, “While I’m gone, this is all I want you to do. I’m not going to ask you to do all kinds of things. Just one. Make your bed. If you do that, I will be proud of both of you.”
That’s where we left it. Each day as we get closer to my first trip, I’m asking and inspecting, wanting them to build a habit which will stay with them their entire lives (possibly making their future wives extremely happy).
The video is also a book, which I only noticed as I began to write this post. It’s #8 on Amazon as I write. I’m buying that baby.
Somehow, there must be a connection between “make your bed” and our journey of faith. More than once, Jesus talked about the little things. We probably remember Luke 16:10 best, where he says, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.” I wonder if Jesus’ words might be the Biblical equivalent of “make your bed.”
If I want my faith to make a difference, perhaps I need to think less about changing the world and more about doing the little things. Then, help a few others with their little things. And help a few more after that. Maybe it’s that uncomplicated.
Instead of trying to accomplish one huge task, I can ask, “Who is one person; just one, I can influence today? Who can I encourage? Who is one person with a need I can meet?”
Like making my bed, if I get to the end of the day and say, “One person is at least a little better off because of something I did,” even a “bad” day can be one of accomplishment.
This post is shorter than some others, and there is a reason. I think I’ve got something little to do, and it’s time to figure out what it is, and do it.