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1/4 Pound at a Time

by Chuck portrait of a mid adult man jogging in a park

It had been a really long winter and my cookie to exercise ratio was way off.  I was the heaviest I had ever been and was starting to need new clothes.  I was about 30 pounds more than I wanted to be and wanted to throw off the weight just like I was getting rid of the heavy winter coat.  The only problem is that weight just doesn’t come off that easy.

When I woke up in the morning I knew I didn’t have the ability to lose 30 pounds on that day, but I could lose 1/4 pound.  So I started doing two things, eating a bit less and training for a triathlon.  That meant every day I was doing what was necessary to lose 1/4 pound.

It took forever, and once I got into the habit of exercise and eating less, I quit weighing myself so often.   It took nearly 9 months until one day I realized I need new clothes or at least a new belt.

Losing weight takes time and focusing on concrete daily tasks.  Restoring and building relationships is the same, it takes a long term focus on concrete daily tasks rather than a fixation on results.

My wife and I went through some very painful years in our marriage.   It didn’t take too much time for us to grow apart and say regretful things, yet it did take a lot of time (several years) and counseling to get to the point that we had a  stronger relationship than when we got married. Every day we did the things that would bring us closer and over time, we became closer.

Interactions with teens can be really disheartening because they may seem to react quickly to everything except what you want.  Whether you are trying to restore a relationship, become a mentor, bring the teen to faith, or help them make better choices, it will seem like the most discouraging and fruitless activity you have ever done.  It will seem like you are working backwards and that quitting will seem wiser than moving forward.

Just remember every day to concentrate on doing the daily tasks that will get you to where you need to be.

Here are a few things that you may want to consider doing every day in your quest for your teen:

  1. Pray – be specific
  2. Spend at least 5 minutes connecting in conversation
  3. Give at least 3 affirmations for something positive you want to see more of
  4. Be the leader and model what you want them to do
  5. Pray more

Keeping going during times of low-to-no feedback is really hard.  The kid’s gratitude may not come until they are parents themselves and discover just how much you did.  But I hope that you work on developing the practices and make them habits. My guess is that at 1/4 pounds each day, you will eventually find yourself in a place of celebration rather than regret.


What things are you focused on doing each day to build a relationship with your teen?