When people hear that I have five kids, I get usually get a funny look. If I tell that to an audience where I’m speaking, I often get awkward laughs, with an ever so slight head shake, as if to say, “that guy is nuts!” The response I typically don’t ever get is, “wow, what a blessing.” But, that exactly what it is, a blessing.
Sure, having five kids is a little chaotic. Sure, having five kids means not having much (or any) downtime. Sure, having five kids means money stays tight, groceries are increasingly expensive, and patience is a precious (and increasingly rare) commodity. Sure, having five kids is hard, but, it’s also amazing.
As my friend Jeff (who also has five kids) recently said in a talk he gave, “you never look at one of your kids and go, ‘man, I wish we never had Billy. Having a kid is always a good thing.'” And that’s true. As difficult as some of my kids can be from time to time, there is never a time I wish they weren’t there. The times that make my day difficult are many, but the payoff is huge.
One of the most impactful things I can do for this world is to raise my kids well, giving them the tools they need to change the world. So, while some see five kids as an enormous obstacle to overcome, here is how I see it. I get five times the hugs, five times the kisses, five times the infinite love of a child. I also get five times the hand drawn Father’s Day cards, five times the kids birthday parties, five times the cool kids toys that I get to play with and five times the daddy child dates to get breakfast.
But, I think most importantly I have five opportunities to shape my children into good, caring, loving people that will become good parents for their children. I have five opportunities to teach my kids to become people that will change the world. I think that is an amazing amount of influence and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I am truly fascinated by the difference between how I view myself and how others see me. At one time I would have thought they were very similar, but increasingly I realize they are not. Two great examples of this:
The first is the image above. My son drew this on my whiteboard for me to find. It reads, “my dad is superman to me.” I have to be honest, I don’t feel like superman to my son. In fact, I feel like I’m failing him in so many ways. I’m not as patient with him as he needs for me to be. I’m also not as kind to him as I want to be lately. Of all of my kids, he is the one that I’m butting heads with the most at the moment, and in the midst of that struggle he found the time to see me as superman. That is humbling.
The second example is a conversation I had yesterday with an old friend. He told me that sometimes I’m hard to talk to on the phone and that the conversations don’t go very deep. I would have thought the opposite. I think I’m great to talk to. Apparently I’m wrong and have some work to do in the area of communication, getting past the surface level stuff.
If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that my view of myself may not be entirely accurate. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s way off in a few areas, maybe more than I care to realize and admit. I’m ok with the difference. This is what drives me to examine myself. This is what drives me to want to become better. This is what drives me to be the best husband, dad, son, friend and leader I can be. This is one of the reasons I blog. I’m learning and growing and I’m glad you are on the journey with me. Thanks!
I’m 30 days into my 3-item challenge and have several thoughts about the project.
- Clearly, I have too much personal stuff. If I can get rid of 3 items a day for 30 days and it is pretty easy overall, that tells me something.
- This tells me that my family also has too much stuff. There is stuff stored in one room of my basement that I haven’t touched in years. It’s time to go.
- I like the idea that if an item doesn’t give me joy, it needs to go. Sometimes I hang onto something out of fear of losing it. That doesn’t make sense.
- I have given a lot away and missed none of it.
- Having less stuff makes my life better. My closet is cleaner, making it easier to find what I want.
I want to continue to pursue the idea of minimalism in my life. I’m not yet sure what that will mean or how it will play out, but I am sure that my time of hoarding junk that I don’t need is over.
“I have a terrible memory.” That’s my excuse for being rude, careless or otherwise aloof. If I were honest, I would say, “That wasn’t important enough for me to remember” or, “I dropped the ball and am a bit embarrassed not to remember.”
I’m increasingly convinced that memory is a matter of choice, intentionality, and practice. I’m starting to think that I can remember things if I would just take the time to learn how. So, to that end, I’m committing to working on my memory. I’m going to read some books and come up with a plan so that I can remember names, details and other important things, like my name at the end of the day 😉
I’m sure I’ll blog on this again soon, but this is a start…
I’m a little over 20 days into my 3-item challenge and honestly, it’s still too easy. I’m not sure what that says about me, other than that I have too much stuff that I don’t use, need, or want. Why do I have this stuff anyway?
Am always thinking, “if I need this later and throw it out now, I’ll have to spend money on it… AGAIN!” But in reality, better to spend money on it again than have it junk up my life now.
I am 20 days into getting rid of 3-items every day and am increasingly aware of how much further I want to go. I want to simplify my life and this is the first step of many.
My granddaddy grew up in the country working the family farm. He was an average student, an athlete and a young man determined to be the best he could be. To that end, he applied to go to college at Berry College and was summarily rejected. Here is how my grandfather describes it in his self-published autobiography:
That fall I knew I needed to attend college and one of my third cousins Milton Chambers and his sister Euna were already at Berry College. I wrote to Berry and asked if I could be accepted in September. Dr. S.H. Cook, the college Dean, wrote back and said they did not have room for me. I packed my old suitcase, told my family goodbye and walked over to the Roopville Highway and hitchhiked to Rome Georgia. I boarded the bus out to Berry College, walked in Dr. Cook’s office, gave him the postcard back and told him I needed to go to school. He assigned me to room with my friend Milton Chambers and that was the beginning of my new life.
It would have been easy for my grandfather to accept that rejection letter. If he had, he would not have met my grandmother, and I would not exist.
There is a lot of rejection to go around, but we don’t always have to accept it. Sometimes we need to push back, even when it seems hopeless. I’m glad grandaddy didn’t accept rejection.