Little Foxes

“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love” Song of Solomon 2:15
Little foxes can do a fair amount of damage if there are enough of them. 
Little foxes can be those funny mindsets we travel through life with. When our mindsets are healthy the rest normally follows, but when they’re not it’s like trying to launch a space shuttle when one of the supports falls away a few seconds too soon.
The shuttle launches alright, but a few inches off here is a few miles and flaming carnage there…
A little mindset goes a long way…
When I was young my friends and I spent a fair amount of time trying to locate Early Death, and subsequently trying to flee it. 
One of our brilliant ideas was to see who was the bravest by shooting an arrow straight up in the air and daring each other to A. Try and see it coming down (Literally impossible), and B. Try to be the last one to chicken out and dive under the somewhat protection of the closest tree before the arrow landed in our faces. 
A boy alone might be somewhat smart, but put two somewhat smart boys together and the smart goes away. Every boy that gets added brings more stupid courage to the party, hence the Fail Army videos that rarely feature women…
I’m still not sure what the Coolest Possible Outcome was for Arrow Shoot because we never fast forwarded to something as mature as finding the goal of the dare. The goal to boys is, of course, the adrenaline of escaping death. 
Anybody who doesn’t believe in guardian angels has never watched a boy with a bow. The fact I don’t have an arrow sticking out of my head right now is because I had angels watching out for me that eventually got replace by my wife and daughters. 
“Dad, have you thought this through?” Says a very concerned Katie three times a week. 
“Katie, obviously not. Thinking is for idiots who never do anything AWESOME!!!”
It’s the way I bless my family. Some people try to remove all risk from the world (aka stay home and go crazy rather than just washing your dang hands more…), but I ADD risk to the world by attempting stupid things. 
It’s my gift to uptight people. 
“SEE!?? We DIDN’T ALL DIE!!! You’re welcome”, while everybody breathes a sigh of relief, but feels alive for the first time in a long time. 
Some little destructive mindsets we’ve had to work through personally in our family are things like:
I EXIST TO BE LOVED. This looks good from the outside, but quickly devolves into an unspoken expectation (eventually very loudly spoken) that because you exist to BE loved, everybody else has been voluntold it’s now their full time job to love you. 
You exist to receive love, they exist to give it. 
They give, you take. 
Then you get angry when you don’t feel connected anymore. Connection only comes when you change this mindset and build a landing pad for love, which you can only do if you tear down the first ridiculous one. 
After about a decade of marriage with this little fox sucking every conflict and conversation dry it gets very tiresome to the partner who entered with the proper mindset:
I exist TO love. 
Another mindset of the modern (but not successful) family is this:
TRADE PARTSAka family is like a car, when the battery dies just get another one. It’ll fit.
The spark is gone with my spouse, I’ll get another one, they’re interchangeable. 
I’m not making light of anybody in the midst of the nightmare that follows, or someone who has had to pay the bill because someone had this mindset, but it’s worth talking about. 
The problem can’t be ME, so I’ll trade out the other person and get a new one, then I’ll be happy. The trouble is happiness is only about 10% circumstantial. 
Family is more like a body than a vehicle. You can sort of change parts and have some success, but a transplant is a crazy amount of work compared to proper maintenance and exercise of the original pieces. But not everyone realizes this, or even knows enough to realize it (we didn’t) until it’s too late. 
Don’t trade parts if you can help it, be prepared to put the work in the first time around. It’s never easier once the road splits to find your way back to design. Now, I believe wholeheartedly in redemption, but the path is a dark one. 
One of my amazing mindsets for the best (worst) part of my marriage was this: “Erin, let me win the argument because you know I’m right anyways, and I’ll take care of you:)”
This sounded very reasonable to me and was maybe never spoken out loud because it’s a bit crazy, but I thought it often enough and with very decent intentions. 
I was fully willing (even able) to put in the work and effort to bear the larger part of the burden, but it took years to realize the truth. 
She didn’t want me to WIN an argument because she’s very stubborn:)
It sounds a bit funny, but now we subscribe to a better mindset that isn’t exactly Modern Family, but can actually get us the result we want in our home:
“God YOU win this argument. Then tell me what I need to do to get better.”
THAT could have saved us about 18 years… 

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