Hubs and I stood in the middle of a parking lot one hot summer afternoon, arguing. Our young sons had done something wrong and had gotten in trouble. As usual, they apologized. But still angry, their dad had said “sorry isn’t good enough.”
I need to add here that my husband is no wordsmith. He doesn’t always express exactly what he means. He just can’t find words that cover all of his thought process.
But in his moments of poorly worded correction, the momma bear in me would get upset. “You can’t tell children that apologizing isn’t good enough. You leave them with nothing to say.” My angry hurt always managed to ring clear.
Explanations followed, but in those moments, the attempt felt like something too little and too late.
In hindsight, my husband had a point. Sorry isn’t good enough. By itself, sorry isn’t enough. Action is needed. Follow up and follow through. Change.
We have to have somewhere to start. And sorrow is a start. Apologies are a necessity. They’re the beginning of healing. Believe me, you can’t build on broken ground. Foundations are a requirement.
In the midst of debating how to change our parenting, we realized our children didn’t know how to change their behavior. Stop doing the wrong thing. Okay, done. But what comes next?
They needed an example. They needed leadership. They needed us to step up, be the example, take their hand, and lead them in the way they should go.
We failed many times. But we never gave up. We dusted ourselves off more times than I can count, and we started again. And again. And again.
True leadership takes humility. It takes grace. It takes mercy. It takes compassion. It takes empathy. It takes a million, billion hours of your life with the knowledge that someone else will likely reap the reward–and being okay with that.
Do you have what it takes? What’s your measure? Check yourself. Not everyone is called to lead. And that’s okay.
Be the follower of a leader worthy of your following.