Our First Leader
Parenthood is a fleeting experience. You have a mere 18 years to launch someone’s life. While the time you spend guiding the start of another’s life is a relatively brief chapter in your own, when done well, your influence is profound.
Today, my dad Jim is 84. This photo of him was taken recently at a football game at his former high school. He played on the team 66 years ago. He says that playing football was where he first learned about leadership. No wonder the team is still going strong; they certainly build talented leaders.
My dad was my first leader. He didn’t teach and preach on the topic; he just lived leadership consistently. Here are four leadership lessons I learned from him:
- Humility. For my dad, humility is expressed in his unending interest in others’ stories. His joy comes not from his own glory but from understanding the hearts, minds, and experiences of the people he meets.
- Service. From his career in local government to the thousands of hours he’s spent volunteering, he has freely given his time and energy to be a part of something bigger than himself.
- Commitment. Besides college, my dad has lived in the same 10-square-mile area his entire life. Being deeply rooted hasn’t stopped him from growing, evolving, and learning throughout his life. Quite the opposite, his steadfast commitment to our community has given him a unique perspective on how change fuels progress.
- Love. My dad lives love. He’s always on the move taking action for others. Much of his life is showing up for his family. When you need support, he knows, and he’s there.
Whether you are a parent, professional, artist, scholar, or fill any role that matters, these leadership lessons stand the test of time. Our world moves fast. And while we can’t stop time, we can set a lasting example for the people we care about.