What will they become?…or Who?…

As we were leaving the pool at a friend’s house, Christian was putting away toys and quickly walking towards me when he suddenly slowed and began hopping on one foot. His expressive face changed in an instant, and he began the common childhood near-death exclamation of, “I have a splinter! I have a splinter!”

Being the ever-understanding dad I replied, “Are you sure it’s a splinter? I don’t see anywhere you could even get one.” He looked back where he had been walking and pointed directly to a sliver of a spot on the ground. “Right there! That’s where I got it!” He was adamant, so I looked at his foot. Sure enough, it’s generous to say it was a splinter, but there was a little piece of some type of hard substance lodged in his children’s size 13 foot.

What does a real dad do at this point? He immediately tries to dig it out with his dull fingernailed hands of course! This created more screams from the young boy who had no intention of letting anyone dig into his foot. After trying to persuade him for a few more minutes that I possessed the medical expertise to remove any type of splinter in the world, he had resolved to not let anyone else touch his foot. Not even mommy! And we all know that mommy can fix just about any medical issue for children under the age of 10.

We drive home and start getting everyone corralled up the stairs towards bed when I see Christian sitting on the couch with a pair of tweezers seeming to painlessly dig into his own foot. Within seconds, he proudly informs us that he had extracted the splinter from his foot. I wasn’t sure I believed that he had gotten it that quickly, but the evidence was in his hand. The second smallest splinter I had ever seen was lying in his palm. (The smallest splinter I have ever encountered came out of his youngest sister, Adriah’s, foot. Some would say that splinter didn’t even exist. :))

I was proud of him.

We got the kids ready for bed and I got to do statistics homework for the rest of the night. That was that.

A few hours later I crawled into bed and began to think about my son, the young surgeon. As a parent, I see myself falling into this frame of thinking all of the time when seeing my son or three beautiful daughters do something well….I think to myself, “What will they become?!? A musician? An architect? An entrepreneur that completely changes the world of surgical robotics?”

As I lay there contemplating and planning the rest of my son’s life, I suddenly realized I was using the wrong key word to start my question. When I look down the road of possibilities for my son and daughters I should not be asking myself WHAT will they become, but WHO will they become?

Anyone that knows our family well, knows that Christian has a …shall we say….strong personality. He likes to be in charge and will attempt to move heaven and earth to get his way. He is determined and passionate…that’s the positive way of looking at it. Some days he is simply rotten and needs to be left in his room alone for long stretches of time so he does not hurt anyone, including himself. On these days, I seem to only see the negative aspects of his personality and the road that can lead to destruction, or at best a life on the run from Johnny Law.

But then there are days where I can see the full perspective of the type of leader that he can be and how he can gather others to his cause. Those are the days I want to remember. Those are the days I need to dwell on when contemplating his future. Those are the days I need to not think of simply what he will be, because that can change from year to year, but I need to focus on who he can be.

What do I need to be doing now to shape the character of my son and daughters? Each one is different and needs various forms of prodding and encouragement. When I think about these aspects clearly, I finally realize that what they become is of little consequence. It is my job to give them the guidance, discipline, love, and encouragement they need to lead them to who they will become. If they can become who God has created them to be, what they are is of very little consequence.

May we as fathers and mothers invest in our children so they can become who they were always meant to be.

–SH

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

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Wow…not how….

Just over a week ago I had the opportunity to go to a great event, Leadercast . Leadercast is a one-day leadership event that exists “to inspire and equip leaders worth following.” As with any event like this, throughout the day my mind wondered outside of professional development into the realm of fatherhood. A father needs to be a great leader, and I want to be a leader worth following.

The day was kicked off by a great pastor and leader, Andy Stanley. The theme for the whole day was The Brave Ones, and Stanley began by focusing on the concept of BOLD leadership. Bold leadership is clarity-focus-stubbornness-and resourcefulness.

 Bold leadership is clarity around and unreasonable commitment to what should be.

  — Andy Stanley, Leadercast 2015

Stanley brought forth several great principles, but one idea made me pause and think for a few extra seconds. He stated, “When someone in your organization (family) has an idea, what if we responded with a ‘wow’ instead of ‘how’?” What if we stop letting ourselves get caught up in how something can be done and allow ourselves to marvel in the idea.

A great example that falls in line with this concept is from Jon Acuff’s book Quitter. Jon talks about his dreamlike personality and that he’s always coming up with ideas for anything and everything that he communicates to his wife. (My wife can intimately relate to being married to this type of person.) His wife used to always immediately ask the “how” question, and it would instantaneously squelch his day. They then learned together that with their differing personality types and strengths that she needed to simply say “ok” when he put forth a dream, and most of the time he wouldn’t even think about the dream a few days later.

 

A great story of living out the ‘wow’ response instead of ‘how’ in the family setting comes from Bob Goff’s book Love Does. Bob tells the story of the 10th birthday tradition he started with his children called ten-year-old adventures. On each of his children’s 10th birthdays he took them to do whatever in the world they wanted. He ended up going to London for high tea, backpacking Half Dome in Yosemite, and riding a motorcycle across the dessert.

What a way to live and lead as a father!

I understand we don’t all have the means to live this way. But at the very least can’t we attempt to stretch ourselves? Can’t we venture outside of the mindset of pragmatism and endeavor into the world of wonder and excitement?

It can start small. The next time your little boy comes and says they want to build the world’s greatest fort, don’t ask for the blueprints…just help them do it! The next time your growing daughter wants to start their own business making custom sleeping gloves, trying helping them create the name and logo instead of prodding her about keeping an accurate balance sheet.

Let’s lead as fathers and mothers and help our children see the possibilities instead of only the stop signs of life.

Wow. How. There’s only a one letter difference between them, but their meanings to a child and a family are worlds apart.

 

–SH

 

Sometimes you just need to let them wrestle!

Sometimes you just need to let them wrestle!

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Lessons Learned from Paul Blart…

Working on a college campus and with college students has a lot of perks. One of the amazing perks of this atmosphere is college students that yearn for a scarce resource. That resource is little kids to love and play with. The Henry household just happens to have an abundance of this resource.

We have been greatly blessed with some young ladies that have made an intentional effort to invest in our kids. Sarah and Madison are two young ladies that have become important to our family and have continually given Rachel and I the opportunity to still have important 1-on-1 time on a fairly regular basis.

This past Friday, Rachel and I had this opportunity again to go on a simple date and know that our children were well cared for. We went to dinner, had some time to talk, and chose to take in a movie.

I enjoy movies that cause me to think differently about a topic, allow me to dive into a new world, or move me emotionally in some manner. But sometimes we need movies that are a simple and fun break from reality. This past Friday, we chose such a movie in Paul Blart Mall Cop 2.

Paul-Blart-Mall-Cop-2

Even in the simplest of movies that are made merely for uncomplicated entertainment, we can find lessons for life and fatherhood.

In a scene where Blart is giving the keynote address to a security guard conference, he is going on about why they do what they do. He then yells out, “If your only purpose in life is to help yourself, then you have no purpose. Help someone today!”

How much of what I do is really about helping myself? How much is focused on helping others? Am I desiring to help my kids learn and develop so they can become all that God has created them to be? Or do I simply want to appease them so I can do what I want to do? Better yet, am I being the example to my kids of someone who selflessly helps others?

Thanks Paul Blart for reminding me that we’re here to love and serve others as ourselves. And thank you amazing babysitters, for allowing Rachel and I to have time alone to learn lessons from frivolous movies.

 

–SH

 

A twin montage!

 

 

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