Leadership and Parenting

Hello Everyone

The hard part of leadership is that you have to do it everyday 24/7.

This little story someone sent to me is so true. If you have children you know this. If you don’t have children then ask your parents if it is true. Leaders know there is no cutoff period……Lee

Is there a magic cutoff period when
Offspring become accountable for their own
Actions?  Is there a wonderful moment when
Parents can become detached spectators in
The lives of their children and shrug, ‘It’s
Their life,’ and feel nothing?

When I was in my twenties , I stood in a hospital
Corridor waiting for doctors to put a few
Stitches in my daughter’s head.  I asked, ‘When do
You stop worrying?’  The nurse said,
‘When they get out of the accident stage.’  My
Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little
Chair in a classroom and heard how one of my
Children talked incessantly, disrupted the class,
And was headed for a career making
License plates.  As if to read my mind, a teacher
Said, ‘Don’t worry, they all go through
This stage and then you can sit back, relax and
Enjoy them.’  My dad just smiled
Faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime
Waiting for the phone to ring, the cars to come
Home, the front door to open.  A friend said,
‘They’re trying to find themselves.  Don’t worry,
In a few years, you can stop worrying.  They’ll be
Adults.’  My dad just smiled faintly
And said nothing.

By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being
Vulnerable.  I was still worrying over my
Children, but there was a new wrinkle.  There
Was nothing I could do about it.  My
Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.  I
Continued to anguish over their failures, be
Tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in
Their disappointments.

My friends said that when my kids got married I
Could stop worrying and lead my own
Life.  I wanted to believe that, but was
Haunted by my dad’s warm smile and his
Occasional, ‘You look pale.  Are you all right?
Call me the minute you get home.  Are
You depressed about something?’

Can it be that parents are sentenced to a
Lifetime of worry?  Is concern for one another
Handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of
Human frailties and the fears of the
Unknown?  Is concern a curse or is it a virtue
That elevates us to the highest form of life?

One of my children became quite irritable
Recently, saying to me, ‘Where were you?  I’ve been
Calling for 3 days, and no one answered I was worried.’
I smiled a warm smile.
The torch has been passed.

2 Comments
  1. I realized long ago that being an effective parent and leader would always be a 24/7 undertaking. I often joke with my husband and friends that I really don’t need to worry about job security! I have two grown sons – the elder is off on his own (in the USAF), the younger is still at home, but attending a local college. Even now, I worry about them, but my Mom tells me it is because you care. If you care, you are leading b y example, teaching them that caring isn’t some namby-pamby, prissy sort of thing – but a genuine show of the depth of your concern for their life and future. In this , I am proud to be a leader and I share the philosophy with my Boy Scout Troop, too!

  2. Lee:

    Thanks for bringing this topic up as it is one that I did not understand welll early on.
    What I did learn is something that I heard from your wife; and especially my wife: “they are watching you.”
    Not only are the people you lead watching you, but everybody (team members, clients, the media, etc.).
    This is especially true in the age of immediate response from folks through social media and every other kind of commmunication mechanism. Sometimes it makes one want to run to nature just to get off stage.

    But, with children-whether young or adult-they are always watching you. Everything you do. Not so much what you say. Hopefully they will call you on things when your actions dont match your words. I’ve had my share of that for sure! My experience has been that leadership is a relationship first, and relationships with spouse, children and parents are the most important. I try to remember in every thought and every action how they are affecting my family, especially my children- now that they are adults.

    he real quesion for me now is what am I learning from them to be the best person I can be so that I can be the kind of parent and man they would be proud to call: father.”

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