Friday, June 19, 2009

Fathers’ Day is fast approaching. Phillip, Hayden, Sam – are you paying attention ?

My father passed away 8 years ago after a lengthy battle with a still unclear neurological disease. Almost every day, memory of him still enters my mind.

Dad offered occasional pearls of wisdom, like: “don’t sweat the small stuff”, and “pick your battles”. However, his impact on my life was based on what he did more than what he said. Although he rose to Chairman of his company and worked fairly hard to get there, never did I doubt that Mom, my sister and I were his top priority. Dad made sure we all felt special. Growing up, many of our good times revolved around sports, especially Cowboy games at the Cotton Bowl. I can still remember exactly where we parked, the route we walked and where we sat – fond memories that are etched permanently in my mind.

As I got older, I realized what a unique man Dad was and how fortunate I was to be his son. He walked the talk – he modeled character. Here’s a picture of Dad:

• Quiet confidence
• Humility
• Easygoing nature
• Balance
• Sense of humor
• Joy and contentment

Character is contagious and I’m convinced that Dad’s will live on through the generations.

I still miss him, though.

The Journey

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

“Life is a journey.” Now there’s a cliché, but what does it really mean ? A journey – a process. Process can oftentimes matter more than results or outcomes. We have some control over process; less so over outcomes. It’s true in business dealings; it’s true in parenting; it’s true in spiritual matters. I don’t feel pressured to produce results outside of my control, but I do feel a sense of urgency about the processes I can control.

Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote from a speech delivered in Paris in 1910 captures this sentiment:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

The man “in the arena” is a taker of risks without regard for the outcome.

In Martina McBride’s song “Do It Anyway”, we’re encouraged to dream big without regard for the outcome. A few lyrics:

“You can spend your whole life buildin’
Something from nothin’
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway.

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway”

I’m convinced that we’ll get the most out of our journey if we give, if we dream, and if we risk - all without regard for the outcome.
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