Wouldn’t it be funny if girlfriends had scorecards by which they could grade their boyfriends or husbands on their day to day performance? Can you imagine?
For starters, let’s talk to the Ladies. What type of things would you put on those scorecards?
Washing and putting dishes away? Check
Going out and Buying Groceries when they run out? Double Check. Hell, triple check.
The list could be endless of course. But then there would have to be some sort of quantifier. How would the point system work?
You could dole out big points like they do in the show “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” But those points are just for fun. No one really wins anything in an Improv contest. Except laughs.
Or you could go minimalist. On a 10-point scale, a guy might be a real winner if he hits 10 points a day. 10 “favors” or follow-throughs.
What does a gal or a companion want done? What earns real Boyfriend, Husband or Companion Points?
Right now we can guarantee there are some men out there doing the math and asking themselves, “What do I get if I earn 10 points?”
And of course, some like to think there is a sexual favor at the end of every relationship contest. And isn’t that sweet?
Well, sex may be a nice reward for some. But actually, there should probably be a category in the Boyfriend Points checklist for performance in that area of service too.
This morning I got up at 5:15 to meet my girlfriend for a workout of 6 X 800 meters at 4:00 pace. It was a little hard getting out of bed at that hour, but really not that bad.
What was bad was the drive home last night after giving her a half hour foot rub. With two beers and some delicious tortellini soup in my belly, I got a little sleep-eee at the end of the foot rub and dozed off.
Rousting myself to drive back home was tough. Heck, I was so sleepy and yet so focused on heading home I did even say goodnight to her cats. That’s just not right. The cats might not talk to me tomorrow. But actually, I think they’ll forgive me quickly if I rub their ears and tummy.
But this morning’s workout was quite fun. And even if I earned a few Boyfriend Points for showing up and running with her, in the end, I was the real beneficiary.
Amanda Marek, Suzanne Astra, Lida Bond-Keuhn, Pumpkin Pie Head Cudworth and Todd Walters post-ride.
That’s probably the real point about Boyfriend Points. Doing things for other people, especially the person you care about and love, isn’t really about a point system at all. It’s finding ways to make someone feel good that day. That hour. That minute.
The only thing the Boyfriend Points system might do is raise awareness of the many things you can do to make someone feel supported and special. It works both ways of course. There could be a scorecard for Girlfriend Points as well. Or just plain old Friend Points. Every relationship has its “point systems” that show you love and respect someone.
But understand: it’s not that you have to prove yourself in some way. It’s more that you should prove yourself… to yourself. What kind of good companion can you be? Are you thinking of others as well as yourself? How can you show respect or care to everyone you meet today?
The broad spectrum on this kind of love is consideration of “Agape, translated as “love: the highest form of love, especially brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” The noun form first occurs in the Septuagint, but the verb form goes as far back as Homer, translated literally as affection, as in “greet with affection” and “show affection for the dead.”
This is the brand of love you express or feel toward all human beings. I truly get those feelings when seeing other runners or cyclists or swimmers racing or training. A quiet “way to go” runs through my head and sometimes I even yell out the car window or wave at a passing runner or cyclists with a few words of encouragement. There’s a fellowship to all that. It even pays to get a little goofy at times to express that agape in this world.
The art of agape is buried under the detritus of battles over politics and ideology and religion going on today. These conflicts leave little room for consideration of the needs of others. Instead, too many people wind up projecting their needs on the world, jealously claiming that our country or religion or sports team deserves better than another. It’s all part of a pattern of a selfishness that evolves and emerges as the central focus in a competitive society.
In that atmosphere, every accomplishment or grain of wealth becomes a checklist against which all others are measured. “I earned every dollar I have,” goes the refrain. “I don’t want people freeloading off my hard-earned money.”
That sentiment is not hard to understand. But it is hard to reconcile against the greater Christian message of agape, which emphasizes the importance of giving over receiving.
2 Corinthians 9:7 [Full Chapter]
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Luke 6:38 [Full Chapter]
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Heading into the Christmas season, you are invited to do this little exercise today. Go to this link for Biblegateway.com,
and enter the word “give” in the search portal.
You’ll quickly see how many scriptural entries it brings back. The Book of Genesis alone has dozens of references, and the rest of the Bible is full of references to gifts and giving.
And yet, Christmas has been turned into a veritable dark cartoon about giving. The day after Thanksgiving is now called Black Friday, which was (if memory serves) originally a term ascribed to the fall of the economy and the Great Depression.
The rakishly mythical character of Santa Claus erases all thoughts of what it really means to give. Santa actually sucks all the real meaning out of Christmas. We now live in a cartoon society where real values are lost amidst a world of consumerism and crass behavior.
Meanwhile faux news stations like Fox News claim there is an actual War On Christmas going on. In fact the real war on Christmas has been waged and perpetrated by the very people who claim to value the tradition. That is, Christians have waged the war on Christmas, not anyone else. Those of us cynical about the holiday are mocking what the holiday has become, not what it really means.
So let’s be honest about what Christmas really means. The fact of the matter is that it’s not always easy to give. Sometimes we feel pressed financially. Other times, our spirits are distracted by life’s demands. We can feel as if there is no room in our heads or hearts to give. Then there are hurt feelings to consider, and the difficulty of forgiving those who we perceive as having neglected or harmed us.
To help us overcome all these guilty feelings, we invented Santa Claus. But in so doing, we lost all hope of reconciling the conflicted feelings we have about a Savior and what we really owe this world from grace.
Giving and forgiving actually go together, you see. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give to someone is to forgive. Relationships and love itself can be restored to fullness through forgiveness.
Those who refuse to forgive are often forced to live in conflict and bondage with their hard feelings. The notion of giving from that perspective is foreign to those living in traps of bitterness or resentment.
How to fix it
Recently I posted a piece on LinkedIn about the Relationship Algorithm
. It addresses the problems that vex relationships when complaint is allowed to lead the way. Complaint is the exact opposite of giving, you see. It is taking advantage of situations to manipulate or control the power balance in a relationship.
When people complain, there is nothing to focus on but the complaint itself. Complaint interrupts and pre-empts all other forms of communication. This is true in both personal and business relationships. Until a complaint is addressed, all other discussions are off. The power balance is off kilter. If you want to know how to avoid this disruptive pattern, go back and click on the Relationship Algorithm link. There are insightful ways to evolve your relationships.
Share and share alike
I share this because those of us who run and ride and swim know that these sometimes selfish endeavors can upset the power balance in any relationship. It can be hard to give of ourselves when the demands of the next workout clamor for our attention.
To be sure, most of us in endurance sports know that these workouts have the potential to improve both physical and mental health. We recognize the value of these workouts in our companions as well, and support that because the benefits do return in the form of an actualized person with whom we have a relationship.
But there can be a propensity to use our fitness routine as an escape from this world as well. That’s when working out becomes a form of complaint toward the other person. “Time away” becomes a statement about not wanting to share time or do other things for that person. It’s all very complex, but these things do matter. All of us need to weigh our priorities, and the end of the year is often a good time to do this.
The season of giving
It’s now officially the “season of giving,” and the New Year is approaching fast. Take a moment to think about that relationship; between the act of giving and the process of making resolutions, and consider how to giving really defines us.
You can start by giving compliments to both strangers and loved ones alike. Give time to your companion, but also make a vow to donate some of your time to a worthy cause. Give hope where you can, and accept the kindness of others with gratitude, which is a form of giving too. Gratitude is giving acknowledgement for blessings and gifts received. Showing gratitude can be a great gift to others.
We don’t really need scorecards to do these things. We were just kidding about that. But the idea of scorecards for Boyfriend Points does illustrate the fact… that whether we like it or not…there is a kind of scorecard operating in all our heads. So give yourself over to that notion and fill the scorecard without being asked. You’ll be surprised how many ways that makes your life and relationships a little better.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
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