Have you pondered about this year, or what it will bring?
I’ve never thought about it deeper than now.
That happens when you have a stroke.
No, that’s not a joke.
I’m writing this from my hospital bed, because I want to stay in the moment.
It’s amazing the perspective you get when you’re life could end.
Did I waste my time?
Did I do the right things for the right reasons?
Did I do anything that truly mattered?
…or anything that will last?
I can promise one thing, however—and that’s no matter what happens to me here, it’ll be a happy ending.
The reason why I can say that, is because I’ve prepared for this eventuality, all of my life.
No matter what route I have to take, I win.
You see…when people think about ‘resolutions’ and ‘goals’, most fail to dig deep.
To look inside themselves.
To discover what matters.
What REALLY matters.
But we can do that now.
I’ll help you. It’ll be awesome.
Grab a piece of paper, right now and something to write with.
I’ll be back in a few minutes—the doctor is here to get me for an MRI and CAT scan…
What I’d like you to do now, is write down what you want.
There are no wrong answers.
I do this every year with a class of teens and every year it turns out the exact same way.
At first they give answers like, “to be good,” or “to go to heaven.”
I’ll immediately snap at them and shout, “RUBBISH! HORSE CRAP! Don’t tell me THAT. It’s what you were conDITIONED to say! By your parents, by your Sunday School and Primary teachers.”
Then I’ll lower my tone and smile, “I’m not saying they’re the wrong answers. They’re ‘snap’ answers. I want to know what YOU want. What you really, truly, deeply want.”
That’s when a boy will inevitably spit out something like, “I want a Mustang car,” or “I want a new rifle.”
“AWESOME!” I’ll cheer, ‘THAT’S what I want to hear,” and I’ll quickly write it on the board.
This opens the eyes of the youth and the reality and dreams come pouring out.
I’ll list things like ‘A good college education,’ or ‘to own my own business,’ or ‘a new Xbox and a hundred games!”
All valid answers.
But it gets better,
It’s not long before the class ponders and I hear things like, “I’d like to live a longer life than my grandpa,” and “to have four kids.”
My personal, all-time favorite was, “I want to marry a man like my dad…because I like how he loves my mom. She’s always so happy.”
Makes you think, doesn’t it guys?
Now It’s Your Turn
So write down what you want.
Fill the page.
Make it messy…
List it all, I’ll wait.
The thing we often miss, is that most of our goals, wants and dreams are all connected to the very same desire.
WHY do you want an Xbox?
WHY do you want to date that good-looking person?
WHY do you want a house, boat, car…or to stop seeing fat people wearing spandex in Walmart?
…because you want to be happy.
Happiness is always the goal.
We all just have different (and equally valid) ways of achieving it.
For me, sitting here, hooked up to monitors and the right side of my face melting—I think of one path to happiness as the most dominant one of all.
Think about it.
Relationships are what make everything work.
It’s the connecting tissue of all success, and what allows our actions to resinate out to the world.
If done right, your influence can resinate for generations.
I’m specifically talking about family here.
Whether you’re married or not.
Whether you have kids or not.
Whether who you call ‘family’ is actually blood or not…
Good relationships always promote happiness.
I’m married to my best friend, Kathilynn.
We have 12 wonderful children.
We have a strong web of relationships and a foundation that’s hard to beat.
It’s not that we’re perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
We have problems and struggles just like everyone else we know.
So how did we get there—to a place with such strong and enduring connections with our kids and those we know?
I’m going to give you 3 suggestions and ask you to consider using them this year.
For your happiness, not mine.
Yes, this might be the medication my male nurse Nate gave me speaking, but it’s a good idea anyway.
3 Key Principles to Building Strong Relationships
#1 Tell Them You Love Them
This is big.
This is serious.
Don’t assume anyone in your life knows how you feel.
Look those you care about, in the eyes and say, “I love you.”
Plus, if someone says, “I love you,” to YOU, do NOT say, “I love you too.”
Say, “I love you back.”
It’ll have impact.
#2 Notice Them
This is big also.
It’s not about you—it’s about others.
Take moments to stop, notice and verbally recognize something POSITIVE concerning those you care about.
Point out something POSITIVE.
Notice them—really notice, especially when they think you’re not looking.
Oh, and be ready to tell them “WHY” you’re complimenting them or “WHY” you think it’s such a wonderful thing.
Some need to know.
Just tell them.
It uplifts hearts, mends fences and conquers the divide in our relationships.
#3 Be Of Service
Don’t forget this one.
One of the greatest people I have ever known told me something profound.
“I learned something the other day, that just resonated in my heart and I knew it was true. That we are here upon this Earth for two reasons…
“The first thing is to serve….
“The second is to learn to serve better.
“…and if you’re not learning how to do one of those two things, you’re wasting your time.”
Roger M. Anthony was a man of pure integrity.
A man who influenced hundreds of thousands of people to do good in the world.
…and I’m one of them.
I believe his words.
…and he lived them, to the very day I kissed his forehead and helped bury him to the weeping of many.
Serve those you love.
Be their strength.
Be their greatest believer.
Cheer them on and you will find people gravitating towards you without compulsory means.
Because that’s how it works.
So What Now?
You have the whole year in front of you.
…and so do I.
During the time it took me to write this article, my tests came back.
I didn’t have a stroke.
Turns out I have Bells Palsy.
I’m being put on medication.
I’ll go through therapy.
I’m going to recover.
Good thing too, because I have a new book being published this week called, “Parenting Books That Work: 12 Fun Strategies To Build Strong Family Relationships.”
…and now I have even more experiences to share.
Told you it would be a happy ending.
More about Jaime Buckley: Author, illustrator & Dad of 12. Builder of Worlds, Maker of Heroes, Slayer of Monsters. Loves God, family, country & cheese. Mmmmm, cheese. Learn more at www.jaimebuckley.com