Just for Dads ~ September 2020
In the nearly twenty years I’ve spent working with children and youth, I’ve loved sharing David’s triumph. As a young man, David goes to visit his brothers at the battlefront. He hears the giant’s taunts and challenges, humiliating the entire army, including the King and David’s older brothers. A key part of the story comes as David refuses to use the King’s over-sized equipment. David understands that stepping into someone else’s armor and fighting the giant the way someone else would do is not going to work. He knows he must use his own skills and experiences. The Bible teaches us that each of our children are uniquely and wonderfully made for a purpose. I believe that were it not for adults encouraging children to conform, kids would naturally behave different from one another and establish themselves as unique individuals.
A common attribute among many leadership books and biographies is self-awareness. Consider the circumstances of Robert Iger, who has led the Disney Corporation through fifteen of its most successful years. Iger oversaw Disney mergers with Pixar, Marvel, Lucas Films, and 21st Century Fox. Prior to becoming CEO, Mr. Iger was the Chief Operations Officer of Disney during some of the leaner years. As COO, he believed he had a duty to support the CEO. When it came time for Iger to assume the lead, he had to convince the Board of Directors that he would perform differently than the previous leader.
I believe it is important to give our kids opportunities to experience different roles in our families. For years my two sons, who are close in age, liked the same activities and played with the same toys. It has been a joy to see my younger son’s personality shine after discovering his own gifts, talents, and love of music. I have seen rewards that come from having the freedom to approach life from his unique perspective, not enduring the burden of someone else’s armor. I encourage you to look for courageous ways to support your children’s unique purpose.
Ward Williams is the founder and executive director of Vineyard Family Services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.