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.