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The Vector Principle

Ever shot a bow and arrow? How about a rifle? Or (bigger stretch) flown an airplane?

For any of those examples, you might be familiar with "the vector principle". You'd probably be familiar with it, not because of some previous physics lesson (kudos to you if so!...but definitely not me!), but because of the observed results.

Simply put, the vector principle works like this: the direction of the object and the force behind it determines the vector.

But just aiming and shooting doesn't end there. Continuing with the bow & arrow example, what happens to the arrow after shooting it a relatively short distance? Gravity takes hold and your arrow begins to sink. Or, if you shot the arrow on a windy day, the arrow may drift left or right. Thus, the intended vector changes.

So, how do you stay on target with your original intended vector? You need a lot of skill and focus to aim correctly and you need force behind the object being sent forward.

Dad, I propose to you that the "vector principle" is one of the most important principles we need to be aware of and put into practice in life as fathers.

To frame the issue, simply ask yourself this first question: "what am I aiming at / going for in life?" To determine this, as you may have heard someone say, you need to "begin with the end in mind..." meaning - think about your end goal and what you want, then set your aim to that end.

This is a "values question" and how you answer this question is ultimately what your aim and intended vector will be. It should give you a peek into what your values are and how you are willing to arrange your life to see those values realized. Is it money? Vacations? Career or status? Helping disciple your family and raising your kids in the "fear and admonition of the Lord?"

The second question is also a telling one: "where am I now in relation to where I aimed?"

How you answer this question will determine if you're "on target" or not. It should give you a peek into if you "walk the walk" or are just talk.

Let me be honest with you. I'm a husband - married almost 15 years now - a dad of 4 kids, and only in the last handful of years have begun to "walk the walk" on this. For years, I've said to myself, "I want to have a healthier marriage, I want to disciple my kids in the way of Jesus better, I want to deal with my baggage and anger issues, I want to be a leader that others want to follow..." But I found myself floundering much and not seeing those things realized. I was "straying off target." Why?

A host of reasons really. For one, I let other things become priorities and usurp my values. Thus, my intended vector was slightly off. But secondly, my "force" behind what I was doing was all lacking - the effort, focus, and determination - and I let apathy dictate the outcomes.

In order not to stray exponentially from the initial target, we have to get our bearings straight and keep our sights on the target and also put forth the effort to move forward.

So, what's your target? What are you aiming at in life?

And secondly, how's that going for you as you're "in process"? Are you straying from the target or holding the course firmly?

If you're straying, what do you need to do to get back "on target"? Is it a "values" issue and aiming at the right thing? Or a "force" issue and the effort and determination to see it through?

Take 5 minutes, pray, ask, and see what the Lord might highlight for you.

From the trenches,


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