The web stretched from one tree to another, 10 feet wide. A guard stood watch, making sure that none of us grazed a strand. It was an exercise in trust, and it was exhausting. There were 8 of us on my team and as we prepared to travel abroad for a summer missions trip, our professor signed us up for a team-building workshop. The next thing I knew, we were 4 men and 4 women trying to lift one another up and through this tangled contraption of knotty ropes. Each time we inadvertently made contact with the web we were made to begin again. Hours went by. The excited babbling of voices anticipating a fun day, long gone, replaced with sweaty brows and heavy sighing. We couldn’t leave until all of us stood on the other side, having been passed through the mess by the hands of our friends. It was complicated, difficult, embarrassing, and in the end, exhilarating.
This process of building trust among my teammates is much like the process for all good relationships. To truly connect on meaningful levels with the people in our lives, we have to go out on a limb and persevere to build unity, the groundwork for intimacy. It gets messy. We begin to realize that carrying another’s burden is indeed a heavy weight. Risk becomes necessary and often exposes our fears. And it must be purposeful. I’m starting with my sons. Every day, I try to set my mind on the task of building a bond between them. I whisper words of praise about each one within earshot of the others. When one is hurt, I nudge the other to offer comfort, to give brotherly love. They are learning to ask questions about each other, to not simply co-exist under the same roof, but to truly care about what makes each one of them so incredibly special. To trust one another and to lift each other up when they see before them an obstacle too great to pass through alone, is the beauty of being vulnerable. If I want them to become Godly men who know how to reach the hearts of their wives, their children, and the people God sets in their paths through time, then they need the practice now. The best and most rewarding relationships are safe places, long tested and endured through the process of entering the fray, sometimes stopping to begin again, but ultimately passing through the web of life’s obstacles, and into a rest worth struggling for.
How do you build the relationships between your children or family and friends?
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