Heart of a Leader

Leadership Matters

Something for nothing

Did you ever notice that eliminating fluids from your body was often a time for reflection and realization. Maybe I am just odd, but it happens to me often enough that I almost want to take a pen and paper with me to make sure I don’t forget something.

This morning our almost three year old was crying for me to put his covers back on him this cool morning. So I stumbled out of bed and covered him up. I then went to the bathroom and as I did I could see a whole picture of a lesson.

I am 59. I was going through a divorce when I was in my mid 40s. I had been blessed with a son and daughter. I knew that my choices had created a life of travel and separation from my family. I could see that I missed out on the beauty of being a more active participant in my children’s livs.

At that time, I was in relationship with a woman who was 17 years younger. We had conversations about family and because I was serious about my relationship with her, I carefully considered whether I wanted to have more children. After about six months of thoughtful reflection, I was clear that I was ready to welcome more children into my life. I was ready to shift my priorities to be an integral part of the world of these children.

Well the relationship dissolved after a while, yet the decision for parenting additional children did not dim. Four years ago, I was blessed with finding the woman of my dreams. The person who I have known I would share life with forever. We were clear, almost from the outset, that we would bring new children into our lives. In a little more than a year, we were greeted with a wonderful son. Eighteen months later another son joined our family.

My dreams had been fulfilled. But dreams are filled with more than I often realize. I wanted to have these children and I was committed to be a more engaged father. At the same time, I didn’t really consider the changes in my life that this would involve.

My wife and I agreed that I would be the primary one who worked outside the home. I become busy with projects with clients and these projects lead to more projects. I didn’t fall into the many of the patterns of the past and I spent more time with the boys than I ever did before. We also have a 10 and 13 year old boys from my wife’s previous marriage who live with us five days a week and I am engaged in their lives as well.

Yet, as I was stumbling out of bed this morning and put covers on my son, I could hear that voice. You know, the one that complains about this or that until some form of dissatisfaction arises. The voice this morning was grumbling about having my sleep disturbed. For some reason, I was able to distance myself from the voice and see it for what it was.

I was complaining about a small bit of discomfort that obscured the precious gift of being with this wonderful boy. I can”t think of any support that he would need that would justify a response from me of irritation. For I had realized my dream. I see the gift of these boys every day and when I am out of sorts with them it is always become of some inconvenience that I feel rather than some sacrifice that I am really making.

The inconvenience is that they are disrupting some plan I have. Maybe it is a notion that I want more sleep. It could be that I want to write something and they need my help now. Whatever the disruption, I realized this morning it is trivial. It is such a small price to pay for iiving my dream.

I also felt an underlying belief that I have. When I dream of something, I want it to be created without any effort or consequence in my life – like getting something for nothing. As I was considering this I looked around and saw that so much of our world, at least in this country, has been infected by this belief. We want a house without the financial resources to pay for it. We want great schools for our kids, but we don’t want to put support this dream with the right amount of financing. We want to loose weight without a diet. You know all these and more.

This belief is also prevalent in our corporations. Executives want their full compensation packages without producing the promised results. Employees want job security without participating in the consequence of personal mistakes and changes in the external environment. Shareholders want profits continuing to increase no matter what.

I see so many times in my life where I have not been wiling to devote my whole self to the absolute living of my dreams. I have the sense that this belief creates great mischief in not only my life but much of my world. The significance of this lesson is still working its way through my system. I am feeling a sense of peacefulness and can’t wait to talk to my wife when she awakens about the implications for us.

I will write more as the lesson unfolds.

Until later,

Thomas

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