Monday, August 24, 2009

Keeping it real

It's always interesting to hear a real life story of someone famous doing something human, especially when you hear it from someone other than them. There's no one like a family member to paint an accurate picture of you.

Saturday Erik and I had the privilege of attending a marriage seminar led by Greg and Erin Smalley. At first we thought, "Hey, you lucked out having a name so similar to that Gary Smalley guy who's an expert on marriage. People might come to your seminar just because they mistake you for him." Then we thought about it for a nanosecond longer and realized they must be related, which they are. Greg is Gary's son. So naturally a few stories about good ol' dad came out and they were not only hilarious, but raised my respect for him.

Ok, first story which isn't the point of this post but I have to share because it's so funny, is:
Gary Smalley would always fall asleep in front of the TV when Greg and his brother were kids. One day they decided to urge him to his bedroom by using the dog's bark collar, which makes a high pitched squeal and also shocks the dog. One of the boys held it around his dad's neck and the other barked in his face to set off the alarm. Gary jumped out of his seat and bolted from the house. A few minutes later he came back in sniffing. Turns out he thought the fire alarm had gone off. The boys felt badly until they realized that in the face of danger, their dad's gut reaction was to leave them and run for safety. Didn't score points on that one.

But the story that did score points was when Greg witnessed his parents in an argument that sent them both off into separate corners in anger. Greg followed his dad and jokingly suggested that he could pull one of the 50 marriage books Gary had written off the shelf and read something to him. He got the door slammed in his face. Some time later, he went into his dad's office and found his dad staring at a document on his computer called, "Things I value about my wife." He had been adding to it through the years, and told his son that whenever he was angry with his wife, he'd come read it, and it would soften his heart toward her. How cool is that?

So not only am I impressed with Gary Smalley, I'm also thinking that's a pretty fantastic idea. I've made lists before of things that I love about Erik, but the idea of having a running list that I go to in order to keep my heart open toward him is a good one.

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