Truth and Spontaneity

This morning, I attended a meeting of my cluster ministers, an important part of building collegial relationships and, quite honestly, staying sane.  We began the day with a worship service, which was about excellence.  At one point during the sermon, the leader looked at me and suddenly asked me what I viewed as my strength.

Now, almost any other time, I might have had several answers to that question – answers that I have considered over years of discernment and many hours of reflection.  I am a preacher, teacher and lover of knowledge.  I am a boat rocker.  I am a paradigm shifter.  I am a facilitator and guide.

But, none of those carefully constructed answers came to my mind.  Before I could even begin to think about what I should say, I said, “Being a parent.”

Obviously, the events of the past week likely influenced my answer.  My daughter Ashley and her husband Kevin made me a new grandfather of a lovely baby girl, Caitlin Elizabeth Stack.  And my son Tyler got a richly deserved promotion, a just recognition of his hard work and dedication.  It was a banner week for the Liebmann clan and I could not be prouder.  So, I could be excused for having my kids at the forefront of my thinking.

But, I think my spontaneous answer revealed more than I might have suspected.  I was blessed to have tremendous parents and I strove to be the best parent I could be.  And clearly, many parenting skills come in handy in ministry, not to mention many pursuits in life.

  • A good parent teaches, but is just an avid a learner.
  • A good parent knows when to talk and when to listen.
  • A good parent leads by example.
  • A good parent is on the clock 24/7/365, but also knows how to have fun.
  • A good parent provides opportunities for success and can turn any failure into a teaching moment.
  • A good parent loves unconditionally.
  • A good parent fosters creativity, rewards imagination, and welcomes a challenge.

So thanks Mom and Dad.  Thanks Ashley and Tyler.  Thanks to everyone who has helped hone my parenting skill set.

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