The Fulcrum of Quiet Steadiness

A couple of years ago my in-laws had their 40th wedding anniversary.  All their kids, Heidi and her two brothers, spouses, grandkids, and granddog came in for a week.  One of the presents the three children gave their parents was that each of them wrote a letter of praise and thanks to their parents.  One night we got together and read them.  Heidi had put them together in a nice frame.  There was lots of crying.

I bring this up because Heidi’s brother, Rob (Robert, Robbie, R), in his letter referred to himself as the middle child as the “fulcrum of quiet steadiness.”  (What is a fulcrum you may ask?  Click here.  Still don’t get it?  It’s nerd talk for being bringing balance and calm)  I laughed out loud when I heard this and it has quickly become a part of Loften household vocabulary.  What I like to do now is refer to myself as the fulcrum of quiet steadiness.  I bring peace and calm to what can sometimes be a powderkeg of emotional drama.

(ATTENTION: Gender stereotyping alert)  The women in my life can be quite emotional (that’s not an insult) and sometimes things can get out of hand.  What is my role as Dad?  Too often Dad’s think that they can solve the problem by bringing even more emotion to the situation.  “Well, Cloften, that’s not possible.  I’m the logical, rational one.  I would never bring more emotional drama.”  Really?  You don’t get angry and start yelling?  Often that is exactly what we do.

We believe that we are helping, but what we are doing is sacrificing long term security and calm for the short term benefit of silence.  You come in like a madman in anger telling everyone to “Shut up!!” and you think you’ve achieved your goal if everyone is now quiet.  But what have you actually accomplished?  Have you helped them deal with whatever the issue was?  Have you modeled self-control?  Or have you taught them what they knew already–the loudest one wins?  You won because you are the loudest.

Being a peacemaker is not the same as being a silence creator.  Do the extra work, bring peace, unity, understanding.  Help your family see God’s way of dealing with conflict, with love and grace.  Be the fulcrum of quiet steadiness.


One Response to “The Fulcrum of Quiet Steadiness”
  1. Steve Manatt says:

    As a dad of a 4yr old boy, emotional responses manifest themselves in very physical form. If we aren’t able to bring a steadiness to the situation quickly, someone or something gets bruised.

    This has been easy when I’m rested and unencumbered. Not so much when I’ve stayed up too late or am in traversing the valleys of life. That’s what I love about being married. It is rare that we are both ill-equipped to help bring sanity to the struggles of a 4 yr old’s life.

    Good word Charlie – may we watch ourselves and ask for help when we know we can’t be the dads we want to be.

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