The 1 Thing We Must Never Forget (and Why It’s So Easy to Forget It)

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Your son is walking in your footsteps. Your daughter is walking in your footsteps. It’s time for you to lead purposefully, live authentically, and play frequently.

It was a simple comment. Caleb – my son – said it last Friday morning. I’m sure he forgot he said it five minutes after the words passed his lips. And yet, I can’t get it out of my head. (And that’s a good thing.)

We were walking along the beach in Oceanside, CA. I had Caleb join me on a trip to speak at the men’s breakfast at Mariners Church in Irvine. Just the two of us. Mom and the girls at home. A Man Trip.

Before heading off for a day at LegoLand – four years of begging finally paid off for Caleb – we headed out to walk on the beach and watch the surfers. We walked side-by-side for a while. Then he would lead. Then I would lead. At one of the times when I was in the lead, these words came from behind me…

"Hey Dad. I’m walking in your footsteps.”

I turned to look. Sure enough. His small footprints were imprinted in the middle of each of my larger ones.

The image – and his comment – are cemented in my brain.  “Hey Dad. I’m walking in your footsteps.”

I must never forget that. Yet somehow, it’s so easy to forget that.

What follows are the reminders God has given me as we’ve chatted about that one statement. If you’ve got a kid, I pray these God-and-me conversations will serve as encouraging reminders for you as well.

Your son is following in your footsteps…so lead purposefully.

It’s so easy to just let life happen. To assume that our kids are going to be “just fine.” To get caught up in the busyness of life. To have our guiding voice – and The Guiding Voice – drowned out by the noise that surrounds us.

He IS following me, whether I lead or not. I guess the big question is: Do I want be a hands-off, disengaged leader, or do I want to lead with purpose and intentionality?

“Hey Dad. I’m walking in your footsteps.”

Your son wants to be like you…so live authentically.

Notice I did not say “live perfectly.” Caleb wants to be like me. He wants to do what I do. He wants to go where I go. The last thing I want to do is paint a picture that what he must strive for is perfection.

He should see me striving for excellence, to be sure. He should see me striving to improve – in my work, relationships, and many areas in life. But he must also see my striving to admit my mistakes quickly and ask for forgiveness humbly. He needs an authentic father, not a perfect one.

“Hey Dad. I’m walking in your footsteps.”

Your son enjoys walking in your footsteps…so play frequently.

This is the one that should be the easiest, and all too often gets left out. We just get too busy. Truth be told, I almost didn’t bring him on this trip! I had been traveling – and have more coming up – so the idea of cutting the trip short and getting home sounded appealing.

I almost passed up the opportunity to play on the beach with my son. To see his eyes pop out of his head when he saw a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter made out of more than 5,000,000 Lego bricks. To scream with delight as we flew a million-miles-per-hour on the Ghostrider (a loud, crazy, old, wooden roller coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm).

Are you kidding me? I almost passed it up? (Yes. I know. I’m not the brightest bulb sometimes.)

Hey Dad I’m walking in your footsteps.”

So, so crucial…and so easy to forget.

My son is walking in my footsteps. My daughters are walking in my footsteps. So are yours. It’s time for us to lead purposefully, live authentically, and play frequently.

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