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Parenting is Real Leadership

Parenting has been one of the biggest life changing events of my entire life. I often talk about Nels version 1.0 growing to Nels version 10.0, and many of those early version changes took place after the birth of our twins. Up until that point, our lives were that of a childless couple, not many worries, foot lose and fancy free, and my overindulging vices, such as my work and play hard mentality, sure didn’t bring out the best in me.

Fast forward a bit, and next thing you know, we have twins on the ground, and as the slide says, not sleep for 2 years, which is darn near a fact, your house is in continual pick up mode from the tornado of destruction left behind from twins “feeling their way through new life”, but touching and tasting everything within their vision. There were middle of the night tears from having two colicky babies not sleeping and placing them both on the running washer and dryer to try and get them to sleep or driving around town at 2 am just to get them to fall asleep. Not to mention the 10, 1, 4, and 7 every 4 hour feedings for the first 6 months due to premature babies weighing 4 and 5 pounds. And as my wife told her father Scott when leaving the hospital, “I just feel so sorry for those poor people leaving the hospital with just one.”….. Those words were priceless at the every 4 hour time feedings that first six months, let me tell ya!! LOL!!

Fast forward even further, as we have closed out Christmas break, we absolutely cherish our moments with them over breaks. We cherish the extra time, and those extra moments of talking, discussing life going down the road, or for my wife if she takes the day off to watch them that day, the extra morning moments to relax or get 30 minutes of extra snuggle time with them. We often hear parents complain, and are ready to send their kids back to school, but for us, after one round of in vitro, a 9 or so month adoption rode crazy train (with all parties sticking their hand out wanting money! That’s another crazy post), and a second round of in vitro, we are maybe “weird”, as even though we have to send them back to school, we aren’t ready to send them back. We want to cherish every moment, because we are only given so many. There are some parents who had their time cut short with their child due to a loss, and they would give anything to have those Christmas breaks back!

But for all of us, wanting to bring about real changing in the world, it all starts at home. The White House isn’t going to change it. Capitol Hill isn’t going to change it. Our local government isn’t going to change it. No one but us has the power to bring about real change, one person at a time, and parent after parent after parent after parent. At home, where real leadership is brought about, and where real leadership matters every single day. Through teaching about love, compassion, caring and kindness, but a firmness in accountability and discipline, with some true grit, determination, and a mental toughness and tenacity that no one will keep you down.

It all starts at home, through all the craziness, the spilt French fries, the sleepless nights, the occasional rounds of vomit to clean up, leading up through the attitude train and bodily adolescent changes, we have to be real leaders at home. So for 2018, our challenge to all parents is to spend 15 more minutes a day with your children. And it’s not just the quantity of 15 minutes, but the quality of the 15 minutes. That was one of my goals 3 years back, and has been one of my best and most held on to goals ever. 15 more minutes than what you have previously done isn’t much, but if it is quality minutes, it will be the most significant, influential, life changing minutes ever for your child or children!

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