Oct17ThuOctober 17, 2019
There have been many people who have influenced me in my leadership over the years in both work and ordinary life settings. As my staff shared in my last blog, over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing with you who some of these people are.
Can you think of the people who had the greatest influence on you as a child? It’s easy for me to identify those who impacted me in my adult years, but as for the people who helped shape me as a young boy, a teenager and eventually a young man, I really had to stop and think.
Growing up there wasn’t anyone in my life who encouraged me to have a personal relationship with my Saviour. I did have one school teacher take an interest in me; however, I wouldn’t say our relationship was one of mentorship. Answering the question in my mind of ‘who was my first mentor?’ proved difficult until I thought of the role my parents played in my life.
As I think of my family life as a young boy, I can’t help but thank the Lord for my mother’s love and care for me. She did everything possible to provide for us. I know she had a profound impact on who I am today, but I wouldn’t label her as a ‘mentor’ in those years.
My father, on the other hand, would turn every situation into a learning opportunity for us. When I think of a mentor, I think of someone who turns the circumstances of life into a lesson that could prepare you for the future. My father fits that description well.
The first lesson my father taught me was that nothing in life is free. He taught me to work hard. Chores were a big part of growing up in my parents’ home. If I complained about my assigned chores, I would just be given more chores. My dad didn’t go easy on me, but he never asked me to do something that he wasn’t prepared to do himself. If we were given a job to do, my father would be right there working alongside us.
At 10 years old I began delivering the newspaper. I would ride my bike nine kilometres each day. One winter day there was so much snow that I couldn’t use my bike for the delivery. My father walked all nine kilometres with me. He never complained about it. He would simply say, “These people are expecting the newspaper, so let’s deliver those papers.”
Back then, my father’s job wasn’t bringing in enough money for our family, so he took on extra work. He never complained and always did his work with diligence. Sometimes, my father would take us kids to work with him. The work was often hard and physically tiring, but through that experience I learned how to work, how to work hard and what it meant to be a family. I learned the importance of a family working together. I don’t resent my father for making me work; in fact, I often felt closest to him while working with him.
My father truly had a servant’s heart. It’s the single greatest thing he ever gave to me. My father placed great importance on serving his family and his community. Not once did he ever lecture us about the importance of serving; rather, he taught us by simply living life as a servant day by day in his community. This was my father’s legacy.
The way my father led our family greatly impacted the way I lead mine. Later in life, I realized that it also had a profound impact on the way I would lead in ministry.
My father was always able to find joy, even when he was thrown into tough circumstances. He worked hard for his achievements and refused to take the easy way out. He wasn’t ashamed of his beliefs; rather, he boldly shared them with integrity.
I could go on about my father’s integral role in the building of my own character. I truly believe that it is because of him and my mother that I am who I am today. They weren’t believers in my early years, but their commitment to their values shaped me. I consider it a privilege to have been blessed by a family that laid the ground work in my life that allowed me to serve in the capacity I do today.I look forward to sharing with you some of the other great people who have influenced my life and leadership in the coming weeks. Who in your life has been someone who has influenced and shaped you into the person you are today?