What does it mean to be successful?

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Ben and Dad, on a clear day, proudly atop Mt Aeneas, Montana.

One of my favorite songs begins with the lyrics: “On a clear day, rise and look around you, and you’ll see who you are.” Alan Jay Lerner wrote the lyrics Barbara Streisand sang. Today, I feel like I know what that song really means.

Last week was historic in my family.  While my father is literally clinging to his own life, I’m searching for what it means to be successful.

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Ben (yellow hat) prepared me to free fall on the Giant Swing

“The tension in this rope is your friend,” said the strong voice. I listened with intent because I was perched in the air, strapped into a High-Ropes harness ready to free fall.  The instructor was my son.

The giant swing ride was the penultimate reward of a thrilling, introspective weekend.  Melinda, Katie and I flew to Montana to join our son Ben at family weekend at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp. The western border of Glacier National Park is truly God’s country. We placed our trust in Ben to stretch us, and he did!  In one day, we climbed a mountain, scaled a high-ropes course and swam in a freezing mountain lake.

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We dutifully followed Ben up Mt. Aeneas. Seldom pausing to measure our progress.

Hiking a mountain is curiously adventurous —  treacherous footing makes it difficult to look around.  Mother nature makes you pause on the path to really appreciate her glory — and to measure your progress.

With each step I followed, I couldn’t help thinking: “When did the equation shift: from him following us, to us following him?”

As parents, we instinctively take the lead —  embracing our responsibility to guide our children on a good path forward.  It’s both thrilling and taxing. And if we are successful, we get the opportunity to follow.

Ok, it wasn’t Kilimanjaro…but Mom and Katie hadn’t even climbed a mole hill.  Somewhere along the way, Ben had grown up and earned the trust to lead us up a mountain.  And he leveraged that confidence into getting Mom up on a high-ropes course.  That’s something.

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Katie and Melinda: proof that we all made it to the top of the Mountain

Katie and Melinda: proof that we all made it to the top of the Mountain

So, what does it mean to be successful? My own father is facing his legacy, so I’m accounting as well.

“Hey Dad, this weekend is a Seven Fs clean sweep!” Ben shouted from the peak.  I could easily understand six Fs: with camp counselor Eric Bay by our side we covered ‘faith, family, fitness, friends, fun and future.’ But finances?  Ben smiled: “I get paid to do this…that’s finances, right?” Bingo, a Seven Fs clean sweep.  Faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun and future. If I fell off the mountain to my own glory, I would rest knowing we’ve been successful.

Good leaders make a habit of placing their trust in others, opening themselves up to life-stretching experiences.  And they pause during the climb to absorb the glory.

Will you please drop me a note and share with our tribe: how are you feeling successful?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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