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state-of-the-unionEvery year our appointed commander-in-chief presents to the nation, and to the world, a commentary on where we have been, where we are, and where we are looking to be over the next year. This State of the Union address presents us with a big picture view of just that, the state of the union. The President offers reflections, feedback, and strategies, celebrating our strengths and successes, acknowledging our shortcomings and failures, and presenting a vision and plan of action for the future.

This highly-anticipated (and highly-speculated and highly-publicized) speech is one of the most important the President will offer each year. It must be clear, concise, concrete, and comprehensive.
What if you had to do the same? What if you were asked to provide a state of your union address? Could you honestly reflect and comment on the state of your marriage and family? Could you openly acknowledge your shortcomings as a spouse or as a parent? Could you specify realistic hopes and goals for the next year? And, most importantly, would you be able to offer a concrete and comprehensive plan with strategies to meet those goals?Regardless of where you fall on the political continuum, I think most of us would likely agree that this is a daunting and challenging task.

Sometimes the State of the Union is bright, with countless successes to celebrate and significant optimism for the future. Sometimes, though, the State of the Union is less clear. Sometimes, it may even seem bleak. But we remark on it nonetheless, because, particularly in those times, addressing our setbacks and shortcomings with attainable and outlined remedies and goals is of the utmost importance.

The state of your union likely follows a similar curve, ebbing and flowing from month to month and year to year, some more impressive than others. But as it is with our nation’s future, your marriage’s and family’s future equally hinges on your ability to identify, strategize, and remedy your own setbacks and shortcomings. Claiming your losses or weaknesses is not itself a loss or a weakness; it is an expression of the utmost strength and commitment to the future of your union.

While we reflect on our past, present and future as a nation tonight, I urge you to commit some time to reflecting on your own union’s past, present, and future. Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to address the press. Just with your spouse or your family; construct a state of your union address together.

What will the next year look like? At home, at least, it’s all up to you.

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