This Christmas began with something unexpected. Our 5 year old son, Dominic, quickly became ill and showed us signs that he was suffering from another bowel obstruction. This is Dominic’s 3rd such complication in 5 years. Dominic was rushed to the emergency room on Christmas Eve and the doctor’s performed surgery that night to relieve the pain and prevent further catastrophic damage from occurring. Since then, my wife and I have been by Dominic’s side as his little body recovers.
During our stay I’ve found it interesting how much data that the medical staff collects on their patients in order to try and predict and identify further complications or signs of improved wellness. While these data markers are helpful and can pen a sketch of what is going on, they can’t capture the whole story of the person. For that, you need a relationship.
There are several times where Dominic’s respiratory rate or oxygen saturation jump or drop to scary levels. While this single data point can cause panic for the nursing staff, there have been numerous occasions where my wife and I have been able to quickly ease their worry because we know Dominic’s story. We know what his sleeping habits are, the different cadence of breath while awake or asleep, the reason for his rosy cheeks…like most parents, we know him. To be fair, there have also been many times during this admission where the data didn’t catch Dominic’s quick health decline either and knowing his story has enabled us to react more speedily.
Data Matters – Kinda
I bring this up because we want to encourage accountability through tracking our progress in our wellness plan. Documenting your activity and those goals that you are accomplishing is an important step. Logging the number of push-ups and squats you did in a day, the clean meals that you prepared the night before and ate, or the 30 minutes you spent in the morning with a Bible in your hands in peace and quiet are all data points that are helpful in diagnosing whether or not we are doing the things needed to be healthy.
The problem arises when we get caught up in the numbers and forget the story. If you just began your wellness journey and completed 10 push-ups, 10 Air Squats and 10 Crunches, you might be surprised that when you look in the mirror you don’t look any different than before. But if you continue on this path and track your data by checking off your successes each day, intentionally, you will be shocked at what you look and feel like 3 months from now. This is your story. This journey includes finding out things about yourself that you didn’t know were there.
So the key to this journey is not any one data point. We all have good days and bad days…and all of these need to be logged as a data marker, but any one of them don’t spell out our story. Our goal is to put enough good days together that we can begin to develop a story of who we are and what makes us tick.
Do you have a tribe?
Another element and perhaps the most important one is having a community or tribe to share our experiences. This involves trust and can help us when we have fallen away or encourage us when we are hitting home runs. The most basic tribe is your family. Just as I illustrated with Dominic, we can know what is happening with our children before the data ever shows it. This community, like a family, comes to know our story. It can pull out of us what is good while at the same time holds up our shortcomings to help us get back on track.
In the coming year, Ron and I want to provide a way for you to collect the necessary data so that we know that the stuff is getting done that is necessary to become the men that we are called to be. More importantly, we want to develop a tribe. A community where we learn and share our stories and can build each other up to be the warriors, leaders, mentors, fathers and husbands that God wants us to be.
“Put on the armor of God” (Eph 6:11)