For The (Extraordinary) Leaders I See In You | a letter to my sons in restless days

My boys,

A friend said the other day that everyone needs to forgive their parents for something. We have made / are making / will make countless parental blunders, because we’re making things up as we go along. Seriously, when it comes to this kid-raising gig, there are days we just fake it ‘til we make it. Please forgive us. Retrospectively, today, and in advance.

But two things you need to know for sure, despite what else we may or may not get right or wrong:

We are resolutely committed to loving you. We will leverage all that we are for all that you are becoming. You are well loved, and loved well.

We are passionately resolved to call out the potential God has placed in you. We want you to be the best possible versions of yourselves and leave the planet better than you found it.

We know part of your potential is to lead, because we’re all called to lead our own lives, and lead others to Christ. But we’re starting to see it in you – in the way you lead each other with your quick forgiveness and kind suggestions and willingness to take one for the team. We’re also aware that it’s exactly in uncertain times (= now) that the world needs the clear vision of tenacious leaders.

So, some truth that we’re praying you’ll be brave enough to live:

Leaders own their stuff

You are in charge of you (and your own happiness). Make a clever plan. Choose your attitude. Be good. Be kind. Be brave. And take your lunchbox to the sink without being asked.

IMG-20151020-WA0000Photo credit: Shaleen Billson

Leaders know it’s not about them and all about others

Like Jesus, right?

He never sulked, ‘I’m such a loser. I’m so pathetic. I’m probably not even the Son of God.’ He knew who He was and He lived it confidently. Yet He was never arrogant. He didn’t swank, ‘You guys should totally be washing my feet; like, do you know who I am?

He didn’t self-flagellate, and He didn’t self-congratulate. He just didn’t think of Himself at all. He thought of others. That. Is. So. Extraordinary.

Because self-pity is so ordinary. So boring. Arrogance is so average. So unremarkable. I’m thinking, rather shoot for extraordinary?

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Leaders don’t settle

The truth is, boys, you’d be wise to be extraordinary because there’s a huge gap in the market. There’s plenty of mediocrity in the world. That market is flooded. What the world needs is extraordinary. What our country needs is extraordinary. You could be those extraordinary men. You’ve got everything going for you to make an extraordinary difference and to leave an extraordinary legacy. Don’t aim for average. Keep asking yourself, What would an extraordinary man do? What would an extraordinary brother or friend or son or student, do?

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Leaders stay calm

Leaders work as if it’s all up to them, and wait as if it’s all up to God. They rest in the truth that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, that it’s not by force nor by strength but by His Spirit, and that the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. They know that, since God is totally committed to Himself, His glory, His Kingdom and His people, it’s in His best interests to position us best, for His best use.

IMG-20151029-WA0002Photo credit: Rina Joubert

Leaders ask the right questions

A leader doesn’t ask questions that skim shallow and safe. A leader asks questions that slice to the crux. Not to hurt or condemn but to do the open-heart surgery of changing grace. A leader is ok to risk discomfort to bring hope.

A leader doesn’t ask, ‘God, what am I supposed to do with my life?’ A leader asks, ‘God, what do You want me to do with Your life, in me?’

So boys, what breaks your heart? Lean into that space and be extraordinary.

2015-10-11 15.22.57Photo credit: Murray Reyburn

Your Dad and I talk to you ad nauseam about kindness and courage, kindness and courage… We realised that the two had fused in your mind, Scott, when we saw another family Sunday-afternoon strolling and you pointed to their spaniel with, ‘Mom, what courage of dog is that?’ I pray that you’ll both be the kind (and the courage) of leader whose character is the startling symbiosis of a soft heart and a strong spirit.

Keep on keeping on, little men.

I love you.


. . .

You are so welcome here. Thanks for reading, and feel free to pass this on if you think it could serve someone you love. It would be great to connect with you. Leave a note, or find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Dragons and Dirt: The truth about changing the world – and the courage it requires

The third print run has arrived! Get in touch if you’re keen to do some early Christmas shopping? Or pick it up on Amazon.

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  1. Oh goodness! This breathed wind into my sails today. Thanks D. Love love love “There’s plenty of mediocrity in the world. That market is flooded”!

    Liked by 1 person

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