The Disciplined Life

Richard Dawson is passionate about God and community. He has an MA in Mission and Evangelism from Cliff College and he currently works for Safe Families for Children as a Community Volunteer Manager.

As well as working for Safe Families for Children Richard is a tutor at the Institute for Children, Youth and Mission. He is a season ticket holder at Nottingham Forest and loves musical theatre, baking, coffee, Disney and Dr. Who. Richard is married to Laura and they have two children.

What is it that drives us? For some of us we might have a competitive edge, that drive to overcome and succeed where others fail. Or to prove someone wrong in their opinion or judgement of us. There can be many reasons, some good and some less so.

Fortunately, as a Nottingham Forest fan, I am not massively competitive, but the thing that does drive me is seeing my children outgrow me, especially spiritually. I should admit that I am naturally quite selfish which means I can sometimes just want to do my own thing but the chance to invest in people close to me is something that continues to motivate me and is stronger than my selfishness.

What I realise to my chagrin however, is the thing that will impact my kids most is the way they see me live, the things that I actually put into my life rather than what I tell them I want to do.

Last year I ran 3 half marathons and for me to complete the race I had to put in some serious training. Let me just say I am thankful I no longer do a 10-mile run before I get into work on a Tuesday. What people saw were the races but without the 10-mile runs I wouldn’t have been able to complete the races. I needed to be disciplined in the everyday for me to attain what I ultimately wanted to achieve.

At school I excelled at coursework because I knew that if I didn’t complete it my teacher would know. Revision was completely different. No one would ever know if I didn’t revise because I didn’t have to hand any work in. Although we all know (now!) that you do get found out in the end because you fail your exams. Whoops.

If I want my children and other people around me to outgrow me and deliver on their potential then they need to see I am a person of discipline. That my environment is one of reading the Bible, praying, fasting, and trying really hard not to get road rage when driving! If we want to invest in others, if we want to inspire then we need to show a level of discipline in our life so that others understand the diligence and effort that’s required to reach the goal.

If I want my children to thrive it won’t be by telling them what to do, it will be by showing them how to live life.

At Safe Families for Children we have the privilege of supporting families that are having a tough time and for some of them we can help them find a way to live their life so they can become more than they thought they could be. They can climb out of that hole that they never thought they would be able to get out of and by showing them our faith they can see something they may never even have seen or imagined before.

Let’s live a life of discipline so that whoever sees will be inspired to be all they were created to be.