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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Working Together and Common Denominators

A few weeks ago our two middle boys, Zachary and Jacob, decided to build a pitcher's mound out in our field. They worked and worked on this project for about three hours that particular day. As they worked throughout the day, they would come in a ask me to come and look at their project. While I was proud of their hard work and their thoughtful design, I was most proud of the way they were working together to reach their common goal. Being brothers and being 22 months apart, I can assure that this working together and getting along isn't the way it always is with these two! If you're a parent of more than one child, I'm sure you can relate!

Working together takes....well, it takes work, doesn't it? Working together is sometimes easy, but sometimes it's hard. And sometimes, with certain people, it seems almost impossible.  It's not impossible, but it may seem that way.

I like the true story my sister told me years ago about a friend of hers. This friend worked for a large publishing company. One of his co-workers was having relationship troubles with some of her co-workers and she came to this man for advice. After listening carefully to everything the woman said (stories of her inability to get along with several other co-workers), he finally came up with a wise question for the woman. He asked her, "Who is the common denominator in each of these relationship problems?" The woman realized it was her! She was the common denominator!  This man used his wisdom to help this woman, and although it may have been hard to realize that she was the problem, he spoke the truth to her in a kind way...a way that would enable her to work on the relationships that had been damaged. It would enable her to learn to work together better with others.

Working together on this special pitching mound seems to have made a new bond between Zachary and Jacob.  I'm not sure it will be the end of the sibling squables, but it's made them continue to work together for a common goal.  They continue to work together to keep the pitching mound in good shape - especially after it rains.

I think it would be a good idea, in any relationship problem we might have, to ask ourselves the same question my sister's friend asked his co-worker:  Who is the common denominator?  If it's me, then I've got some work to do.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Romans 12:18
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