I miss the dad of my childhood. When I was a boy I wanted to be just like my father. He was strong, handsome, fun, affectionate, and he loved God and our family.
Often I went to the hardware store with him — I didn’t like those stores, but I wanted to be with him all the time. When he was away at work I walked around the house in his shoes. When he came home we liked to play ball. He could punt a football so high and he taught me how to run under the ball and catch it.
When my dad was with me I felt like I could do anything! I rose to the level of his confidence in me. That’s something we all need from a father or mentor in order to succeed in life.
Dad went to all my football games and even my practices. One year on the first day of practice the coach was playing me at blocking guard. I hated that because I wanted to be the running back that eluded tacklers and carried the ball down the field. But my dad pulled the coach aside, looked him in the eye, and declared, “My son is a running back, not a blocker. If you give him the ball he will score touchdowns for you.” The coach put me in at running back and I scored touchdowns while my dad cheered!
Many years later as an adult, I asked my dad, “What is the secret of your success? How did you become the captain of your football team and make the All City Team in Chicago? How did you become the top computer salesman at IBM? How did you remain faithful to love mom and our family all these years?”
Dad gave me two words: trust and respect. He explained, “First, I showed people that they could trust me, that I cared about what was important to them. Second, I earned their respect by working hard and doing my best to help them.”
One day in the early 2000’s Dad was very late to catch a plane. he threw on clothes, flew out the door, drove fast, parked illegally, and ran through the airport. He got to the gate just in time. In the rush, he had forgotten his wallet so he had no ID. This was after 9-11 so airport security was real tight. Nonetheless, my dad convinced security and airline officials to let him on the plane. Then he did it again for the return flight. That’s how much people trusted and respected my dad.
It’s the same for you and I. We will succeed more in life and work by earning people’s trust and respect. This requires playing ball together, being teammates with the same goal, praying, working hard, collaborating, and celebrating our wins.
Dad, thanks for handing me the ball and believing I could score touchdowns. Thanks for giving me the confidence, work ethic, and relational skills to lead Soul Shepherding, Inc.
Listen to this week’s SoulTalk: Leadership in the way of Christ is very different and dramatically more impactful than cultural leadership in the way of our world and people’s natural abilities. True spiritual leadership begins with our intimacy with Jesus. Reflect on your own leadership and intimacy with Jesus as Bill and Kristi share honestly from their own experiences in life and ministry.