While road-tripping down I-65 to our family’s vacation destination in Destin, Florida a couple weekends ago, we decided to stop for a look at the former home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama. Little did I know that it was going to be such an inspiring look into the life of a leader that has always been one of my personal heroes.
We found the city of Montgomery to be a very quiet place on a Saturday afternoon and were able to locate the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church parsonage where Martin Luther King used to live fairly easily. Tucked away on a neighborhood street, surrounded by houses of like shape and size, was the humble house once inhabited by one of the most influential men in recent history.
What struck me first was the realization that this was really where it all started and shifted. This seemingly insignificant-to-the-naked-eye home was where the seeds of revolution were planted and grew. What an awesome feeling to stand where he stood, walk where he walked, and look upon some of the same scenery that he would have looked upon. It was truly exciting!
While on the tour I gained these 5 tidbits of wisdom from the life of this great leader that, hopefully, will inspire you to greater heights in your leadership as well:
Father’s Day comes every year and brings with it many feelings – some welcome, some unwelcome, and some indifferent. Some of us remember a dad that was rude, selfish and uncaring. Some of us remember a dad that lived a life of quiet resignation with occasional bursts of anger. Some of us remember a dad who abused his family and chose other women over our moms. Some of us remember nothing of our dad because he left before we got to know him.
But far too few of us remember a dad that was strong, self-sacrificing, solid and supportive. A dad that took the time to teach us what he knew, that supported our interests even when they were different from his own, that sacrificed his own selfish ambition so that we could stand firm on the foundation that he provided, that stayed loyal to his love for a lifetime, and that served the community with his time, talent and energy generously.
This Father’s Day, maybe it’s time to consider being the dad we wish we had.
Last night I had the pleasure of taking my daughter to a local Daddy/Daughter Dance. It’s something we’ve been doing since she was three years old (she’s eight now) and we look forward to spending this special night together every year. We get all dressed up – she wears a special dress and I wear a three-piece suit – and I give her the gift of my presence all evening long.
We had a great time talking in the car on the way there, sharing a meal together in the gymnasium, getting our picture taken, and dancing (of course). I’m always thrilled to get the opportunity to spend time with my daughter and hear of her hopes, dreams, troubles, and achievements. She’s a really amazing and beautiful girl with a personality that takes over a room and I couldn’t be prouder :-)
Every year, we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of leadership and his hard-won battle for the recognition of the civil rights and liberties of African-Americans. I’m always inspired by hearing his famous speech in which he paints a vision of the future he imagined could and should be taking place in our society by starting each line with, “I have a dream.” But would Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream have been made a reality by a guy without his eloquence of speech? His command of language? His ability to persuade others to his cause? His connections in the community? His skills as a leader of a team who was able to organize the effort? The answer would have to be “no.”
Today, it seems as though many of us have forgotten how to really dream. Maybe we gave up on our dreams because of some pain or disappointment in our past. Maybe we lost touch with our capacity to dream of a better future than the one we’re living because we stopped exercising our imagination a long time ago. Maybe we went after our dream once and got burned, vowing never to set ourselves up for the pain of that failure again. Or maybe our dreams are being distracted by a fantasy.
I love going to the beach. There’s hardly anything more relaxing than sitting on the beach. It’s so calming and peaceful. The sounds of the ocean rushing in and out, the blue sky above giving the perfect hue of blue to your view, the heat of the sun shining on your skin and reflecting up off the sand, and the wind blowing in from the expansive sea bringing with it the aroma of freedom and possibilities.
My first trip to the beach ever, though, was not so glorious.