In yesterday’s teleseminar on “How Did You Learn about Money?” Larry Foster made some valuable observations about family of origin work and church leadership.
He talked about the challenge, and value, of going back into our families seeking a more objective view. He emphasized the importance of finding a coach or mentor in this process, and the fact that this is a “hard, life-long process, but the benefits are worth it if you can stay with it.” He said, “You see your parents as the kids of parents who are kids of parents, you see your functioning position in a different light, if your parents are still alive you have the opportunity to work on that relationship one on one, you can create a family of cousins and touch the branches around you.” He suggested this is a process of getting more objective about our families, focusing on the “where, when, what and who” rather than “why” people are the way they are.
He went on to say, “when people make a shift from trying to change others to focusing on themselves, you see a difference in how they manage the rest of their lives. I suspect that if you get anxious about trying to get people to give, and if you’re in that triangled position as the pastoral leader, where people are saying it’s up to you to grow the church, I think that’s the invitation to be stressed.”
Conversely, he said, that the capacity to focus on yourself, as well as staying connected to others, while staying less anxious and reactive and blaming, over time that has an impact on people. He said, “That starts at home — if you’re getting up in the morning and looking forward to the challenges of the day, and that includes the way you manage your money, I think people’s radar picks that up.”
He concluded with Edwin Friedman’s principle that “questions are eternal, answers are fleeting.” He asked, “How do you ask new questions about money and its function in your life?”