Friday, May 28, 2004

Conversations with my father

A dear friend's dad passed away this past week. I e-mailed her as soon as I found out, and just got a reply from her today. The funeral is today. Her father has been ill for a long time, so it wasn't totally unexpected. He was a wonderful Christian man, and my friend told me that she'll have plenty of memories of great conversations with her dad to hold on to.

That made me think of my own father, who is terminally ill and has been for some time. The side effects of his illness make him confused, meaning it's difficult to carry on any meaningful dialogue with him.

So even now, I'm missing those conversations with my father. From the time I was a young girl, I can remember sitting around the table long after a meal was over, just talking. About anything--politics, doctrinal issues, music, family matters, you name it. Conversations with my dad were always spirited and stimulating.

As a teen, I often disagreed with my father, but he never belittled me or made me feel like I couldn't express my viewpoints respectfully. It's interesting how, down through the years, I've swung around to his way of thinking on so many things!

Since my folks have lived in the Austin area, every time I visited Texas, my dad and I would take long walks together. These were supposed to be fitness walks, as he and I both were always trying to lose some weight and become more fit. But even as they helped me physically, they turned into wonderful occasions for long conversations.

I can recall many times when he would want to go on a walk and I would try to beg out of it, especially when the Texas sun was blazing particularly hot. But I usually gave in and dragged out my walking shoes, because even in those days, I knew that time with my dad was precious and wouldn't last forever.

Now, I'm so glad I had all those conversations with my dad. I'll always treasure them.

Well, there's a spiritual application in here somewhere, isn't there? Even though I may lose my earthly father soon, I will always have my heavenly Father. And He wants me to talk to Him...and He wants to speak to me. Pretty amazing, huh?

Being an effective leader...

Kevin Young is a young man whose wisdom and insight often impress me.

In his blog the other day, he was talking about the qualities of effective leaders. For example, effective leaders, among other things:

". . . Are not focused on honors, titles, rank, or money. Leadership is responsibility.

. . . Do not look for carbon copies of themselves and are very appreciative of diversity. They try to instill an appreciation of diversity in others.

. . . Are not afraid of working with strong people. They seek out the very best people for every position and defer to the opinions of those who are more knowledgeable or experienced than themselves.

. . . Delegate many things and trust others to complete tasks, but they are also doers. They have a clear sense of what they need to do themselves and of what will make a difference in the organization."

I commented on Kevin's blog that it amazes me--given the fact that there are so many great resources on how to be an effective leader---that there are so many awful ones. I believe in many cases, it has a great deal to do with ego. Either the leader has a hugely inflated sense of his own importance, or he/she has low-self esteem that he/she seeks to build up by tearing others down.

How do such people attain positions of leadership? Grrrr...I don't know.


1 comment:

Tina said...

It's odd, but the past few days I've found myself thinking of my grandparents who have passed away and missing them.

As you were able to do with your father I am able to have conversations on just about any subject with my father. Though my heart breaks that he won't talk about Jesus I'm thankful that I am able to talk to him about anything else.

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