During the presidential election of 2008, the "fundamentals are strong" was a big political attack ad.  You remember it.. when McCain said it and economy continued to tank regardless.. calls for bipartisan, collaborations... The bigger question for me is what exactly are my fundamentals?  From the economy, to music, to family, friendships, ministry, and even technology...

Adults establish a plan to build foundations/fundamentals and then build and create something on the foundations/fundamentals of each of these areas.   Children continue to flail around in a perpetual state of learning because they can... their fundamentals are taken care of for them.

I spent the weekend in Princeton NJ dropping my daughters off for a middle school vocal camp at WCC and was struck by how little I even think about my musical fundamentals anymore.  The notes, rhythms, harmonies, history, and technique have become a part of who I am... I took a lesson with a mentor and teacher and he used a simple metaphor as an imperative for my future.

"Just hit the nail.  Stop thinking about swinging the hammer and exactly what you are doing with your arm."  

As I refocused on accomplishing something with my skills, the technique blended into the background.. It didn't disappear, but it became simply part of the result.  This lesson was poignant and powerful as it applies to my singing, but it is not limited to music.

In all of the areas of our lives we must seek this approach and focus.  Here is the hard part.  You can't do this until you have established a solid foundation and base of support from which to take your risks. Balancing risk vs reward is the storyline for so much success and failure.  The choices and options only appear after we master the fundamentals of our domain.  The trick is to identify and move on into the exploration period of our lives.. away from the fundamentals.

I think we as a country and a culture may be largely stuck in a cycle of "focus on fundamentals" because we are losing focus on what those fundamentals are:

  • Traditional familial models are largely a thing of the past as families are distributed geographically, impacted by divorces, and a myriad of other new/modern models.  What are the foundations of this new Modern Family?  We must understand that friends can be family and family can be friends.  Relationships are sustained by contexts, connections, and continued relevance to one another.  They are hard work and require investment and sacrifice
  • Businesses are reeling in a time of economic turmoil, yet the tools to connect to customers and make products are more pronounced and profound than any time in history?  How will the internet and the new social media enabled generations of workers impact traditional business models and relationships? We have so much amazing possibility here if our culture can bridge the digital gap and learn to use the new digital world in better connection/collaboration with the physical world.. rather than in competition...
  • Our churches continue their focus on growth through nickels and noses, even when the fundamentals of ministry are one on one relatonships. We have lost our way in regards to our personal connections to ministry and faith and largely turned churches into just another stop on our weekly obligation lists.. along with schools, post offices, grocery stores, and restaurants.  The church is providing yet another service for us to consume.. when in fact.. the power of the church is resident within each of us.  The impact of the church is revealed when we focus on giving of ourselves to others.. not giving or getting from or to the collective assembly..
I thought about adding a section on politics and government but then.. perhaps the fundamentals for government should be participation in.. not criticism of... like so many other things....


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