Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I wanna be a leader.

We took a family outing to Lowe's this afternoon. Elijah, ever the independent toddler, wants no part of a cart, preferring to walk everywhere. This is fun, and at times, trying.

I admit that after redirecting him many, many times Gabe and I began to be a tad impatient.
After being asked to come this way or that, he told us, one too many times, "No. Follow me."
(He likes to go his own way, bless his soul. And, hey, most of the day, at the park or at home, we are happy to say, "Okay, where are we going?")

But today, we had a plan that we were sticking to and Gabe very politely but firmly told him, "Elijah, you are not the leader, you are the follower. You do not lead, you follow, understand?"

For some reason, as I heard Gabe say these words, I felt very sad for my little man, rather, I think I felt his sadness over these words. Let it be known that, I am not criticizing Gabe, he is an amazing, amazing father, loving and devoted and in all ways, a super dad. AND I know that Gabe was doing the right thing; Elijah needed to be reigned in.

But sometimes,
often times,
a mother's heart is uniquely tuned to the melodies her child is making.
This was just one of those times, I knew something more needed to be said.

I felt a strong need to encourage E.. I needed to let him know that:
One day, he
would be a leader.....
but first.....
he has to learn to lead...
and to do that..... he will need to follow sometimes.
I told him...
"Just keep following in Daddy's footsteps" and "You Will Be A Great Leader."

We continued to talk on about this for a few more minutes as we strolled through the store. And I thought, "Wow, what an awesome topic for us to be discussing. I pray that it makes an impression." This was the first time that we have had this sort of conversation, about what it means to be a leader, what it takes.

Fast forward to bedtime, tonight. Dinner, bath, PJs, books... all done... and now, it's time for sleep. Elijah was resisting and spiraling ever downward towards, what seemed to be, an inevitable meltdown.

Exasperation and exhaustion battled to rule over him.

I leaned into his beautiful face and, not expecting any answer to this comment and said, "It's hard being two, isn't it?"

He looked at me with sweet eyes, and a sad little voice then said, "I wanna be a leader. "

Heart flutters.

I wasn't expecting him to understand what I meant when I said that it is hard to be two... I meant... always being told what to do...shuffled from one thing to the it or not.
He obviously got it.

I glimpsed my son two year old a man.
As a man, who knows his place as a leader, not a follower.
His heart already longs for it.

I grasped ever more clearly that our role as his parents is to nurture it,
to encourage it
and to teach it.

Because for now.... he must follow.

And now, I know I must be even more aware of who and what he is following after.


  1. This is such a lovely, lovely post. As a fellow mother of a two-year old son, I am really touched by this interaction between you and your boy, and humbled by how well you handled this topic with him. And as an English major and teacher, the phrase "a mother's heart is uniquely tuned to the melodies her child is making." gave me goosebumps. It should be on a greeting card. Anyway, really beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a truly sweet comment on my post, Carebear. Thank You so much for taking the time to write. The whole event was so meaningful for me, I am thrilled that another Mama found meaning in it, too.

  3. Thanks for leading me back here, Liz... Your blog is wonderful! This post of course, had me blubbering. Your children are so very, very blessed by you and Gabe. I appreciate your trust in letting me visit- as different as we may seem on occasion I am always struck by our similarities. I aspire to be the Proverb 31 woman as well:)

    Have a beautiful day!