This is one of my favorite pictures. It was taken at my wedding, and it perfectly depicts how my friend, Melodie, carries out her role as my Senior Advisor. Did you know that I have a personal Cabinet?
I do. Just like the President. In any weighty, complex, or sensitive issue, I consult my Cabinet. They each have areas of particular expertise.
Melodie, for instance, advises me when I need to pursue a difficult conversation. She counsels me, “You may want to phrase it like this…” or “It would be good to start with a question like…” Even more importantly, she prays for me on the day of the conversation. I never enter a challenging conversation without Melodie’s prayers.
My husband, Rick, is also an important member of my Cabinet. As my daily dialogue partner, he refines my thinking on many matters, both big and small. I rarely send an important email without his editorial eye having gone over it first. (“You probably want to take out the italics and bold print.”) You may have picked up that I am a person of passion, one who engages the world with all guns blazing. Rick and Melodie with their more temperate and cautious styles have protected me from numerous land-mines along the way.
The question I find myself perpetually asking is What does wisdom look like in this situation? I ponder this every day in a number of contexts. To discern the answer, I often need to consult others. In the counsel of many advisors, there is indeed wisdom.
I consult my advisors according to their areas of proven expertise. In parenting matters, I go to Barb and Kim. What books do you recommend as we start sex ed with our kids? How seriously do I need to take this certain behavior that one of my kids is doing?
On questions that require both a discerning and a compassionate eye, I refer to Wendy. How do I tell that child’s mom that I saw her name in some graffiti on the playground?
For situations needing certain kinds of cultural sensitivity, I go to Chris. Can I make a casserole that includes cheese for the Korean family who is new to our country?
For questions of cultural protocol, I ask my mom. Is it important to go to the wake and the funeral?
The list of advisors and the list of categories go on. There are several key attributes all my Cabinet members share: willingness to tell me the truth even when it might hurt, commitment to my best interests, knowledge of my weak spots, a vantage point that often differs from mine, and proven wisdom in living.
Rick and I have talked about creating a formal board to pray for and advise us on major decisions—-a Goetsch Family Board, if you will. We imagine meeting once or twice a year in some homey place with a white board. Over the course of a couple days, we would lay out the various questions and challenges facing us and then gather the members’ input. We would be sure to include a diversity of experience, gender, spiritual gifting, and cultures. We fantasize about this idea, but it does not yet seem that the complexity, import or reach of our lives warrants it. Someday it might.
When it comes to wisdom, I believe that often we have not simply because we ask not.
© Laura Goetsch and Thinking About Such Things, 2015.