Complaint or…?

Kara Powell | Aug 20, 2009

Photo by Omar Lopez

I love this quote from Henri Nouwen used by Dr. Mark Lau Branson, one of my Practical Theology faculty colleagues at Fuller, in the book The Three Tasks of Leadership: Worldly Wisdom for Pastoral Leaders: “It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint.” ((NOTE: This quote was originally misattributed to Mark Lau Branson. The quote is from Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 85.))

In the midst of your summer and fall ministry schedule, you’ve got all sorts of opportunities to show students how to be grateful, even in the midst of the mediocre food at camp, or the fatigue you feel during your justice work. Most youth workers have learned to avoid complaining around students. But at home it’s often a different story.

One of my daily prayers for myself is that I would be a fun and positive wife and mom. My husband would say that I tend to set the tone for our family, and even in the midst of the busyness and pseudo-chaos of raising three kids, I really want to be fun and positive. I don’'t want to be “Up Kara” when I'’m at Fuller or at church and “Down Mommy” when I’'m at home. I want to look for opportunities to choose gratitude instead of complaints today.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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