(Note: The Ol’ Doc series provides illustrations of lifestyle change related to particular love relationships, of which three are the most significant; Person-God (P-G), Husband-wife (H-W) and parent-child (P-C).)
The special love relationship between parents and children is life-changing on both sides. I have watched families deal with healthy children, those with autism, cerebral palsy, dyslexia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cerebral palsy, and many other challenges.
In families where finances are a continual challenge, I have noticed that finances were no less a challenge when the new baby arrived. However, the way money was spent was drastically different.
My brother had cerebral palsy. Although he could get from place to place with his legs, he never recognized our family. He could not feed himself, and had no bladder or bowel control. With four older siblings, you can imagine how this impacted the rest of us. The nine years of Glenn’s life changed all the activities of every person in our home. We had no hard feelings about these changes; they were just our normal way of life. It was the phenomenal power of love that kept things from becoming a galling experience for us all.
Dyslexia is common. Dyslexic children appear, act, and think normally, but their reading and writing skills are scrambled. One professional mother lamented, “But there have never been any kids in our family who couldn’t read.” When all the other six year old children were going to first grade, her son wasn’t ready. While this wasn’t particularly unusual, it was even more difficult to understand when he wasn’t ready the next year, and the next. For four years, this family stimulated, challenged, and encouraged their creative, smart, dyslexic boy in his turbulent home schooling. Mom, dad, and grandparents all worked together to make it a success.
Without the power of love, that boy would have been treated and labeled as “slow.” The outcome of his entire life may have been very different. But he graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA, co-valedictorian of his class. He continues on that same trajectory in his university studies.
Love motivated our family to do what was best for our boy. Mom spent countless hours with him. Granddad regularly took time from a hectic medical practice to work with him. Was it a drag? Absolutely NOT…because we LOVE him!!! He responded to that love and care.
This type of physical, mental, and spiritual motivation is powerful enough to change every aspect of our lifestyles. This miracle affects much more the type of motivation than the technique. This love motivation makes even physical changes possible.
Techniques for behavior modification, marriage enrichment, and parenting skills have been well learned and vigorously shared. Why are we so slow to see that proper motivation is the bigger problem? Money, prestige, social pressure, fear, bribery, pride, who is watching…these are all common motivators we use today. Although these motivation may affect our outward actions, they will never change us inside. We can even fool ourselves about how good we are!
What about Spiritual Love Motivation? Wow! The degree of Jesus’ love for us is immense and the degree of its positive outcomes is proportionally immense. Everything just changes. But here’s the key — spiritual motivation doesn’t happen until we choose God.
Postscript: Lifestyle diseases are increasingly important worldwide. Lifestyle treatments are profoundly effective. Techniques for lifestyle change are well known. These changes are sporadically promoted but even more rarely adopted. Motivation for lifestyle change is powerfully effective when it is the result of a love relationship. The person-God relationship is by far the most powerful motivation known. God's goal is to bring the best of health to us, beginning now. The power of this relationship is continuous as long as we prize it. Love motivation is essential for treating lifestyle diseases.
- Love motivation + best technique = change
- Usual motivation+ best technique = very little
- Fear, bribery, social pressure, curiosity, guilt, and longevity are brief and poor motivators.