I recently read an article titled “I Didn’t Want To Be A Mom, But I Had Kids Anyway” about a mom who initially was hesitant about becoming a parent but after having difficulty conceiving, going through postpartum depression, and the normal trials of motherhood, now has a level of love for her children that she didn’t think was possible. How did she get to that point? Simply, she answered the call.
I remember my own journey to becoming a parent. I was an only child who early in life tended to focus on my own needs. My parents pushed me to get a good education so that I could find lucrative employment. Although I married only a few years after college, my wife and I decided to wait almost 10 years before having children. After experiencing the difficulties of childbirth (my daughter is a surviving triplet), it made me realize how precious life is and also gave me a new focus in life. Years later, we added to our family through adoption and I now have 3 children whom I am very proud of. I wanted nothing more than to be the best Dad that I could be.
Although raising children can at times be difficult, I can’t imagine life without them. Being a parent has allowed me to discover a trait that all great leaders have; to serve something greater than myself. My oldest daughter was born with special needs and when she was just a baby, we made the decision to make her our priority. We changed careers, moved to different cities, and in general upended our lives, all to give her the best chance to succeed in life. After we adopted two additional children, I changed careers (again) so that I could be home more in order to give them the time and attention that they needed. It has not been all smooth sailing and has cost us a fortune financially, but the benefits have far outweighed the cost and if I had it to do over again, I would do the same thing. They have enriched our lives in ways that we could never have imagined and allowed us to grasp opportunities that we never thought possible.
Many people complain about the state of our global society. In America, differences among race, gender, and economic class have never been greater and as a nation, we appear to be on the verge of dysfunction. However, during times of great challenge also comes great opportunity. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” As a parent, I have the opportunity to shape the future. I teach my children the values of hard work and respect; never to make excuses; and if one course of action doesn’t work to find another way. All of my children are honor students and have found ways to set and achieve goals that will serve them well in the future. They are not perfect and there are still times when as a parent, I become very frustrated, but I am very confident that they will continue to grow into productive citizens who will be able to follow their dreams.
Leadership is about serving a cause that is greater than yourself. Parent leadership is about doing what is in the best interest of your children. One doesn’t need a fancy title to have an impact and to leave a legacy for future generations. Sometimes, all we need to do is answer the call.