I wrote this rant eight years ago on a flight home. As I wrote yesterday, sometimes it’s absolutely essential to look back. So, friend, here’s a glimpse of what was on my mind eight years ago. I’m still a house divided today…

Our oldest, Jordan, is home for a few days. He hardly returns to his roots, prefering poker and his friends over family. I’m sure my father had reason to feel the same about me. I tend to forget I went away to college and never returned home. Our middle son, Andrew, is headed to Germany to study. He’s been treading water for some time and boomeranged back to the basement for longer than I would have liked. He seems like his life has some direction now. Germany fits him and he’s the kinda student that would make a great professor. I’m sad to see him leave for who knows how long. However, I’ve been pushing him away; pushing him to find himself and get on with it. Our youngest son, Taylor, is home for ten more days. I admit it; I can’t really stand to think about him leaving. He doesn’t know it but he’s my best friend. I’m actually feeling sick as my mind wraps itself around the thought of Tay out of town…

And, then there is our only daughter Krit. Krit is in KC. She works a “normal” job which seems strange to say. She is the most like me. I say that knowing she is really the most like the best parts of me and my bride. She’s beautiful, loyal, and fiesty like her Mom. She’s calm, resilient, and kinda funny like me. She regulates the room when she enters and her positive persona is NO mask. I miss Krits but at least I get to be with her nearly every month. And, she actually returns my calls…

I’m as much a Dad as I am a builder of leaders, maybe moreso. The sad reality is I don’t feel like much of a Dad anymore. Scott kids, you see, are independent kids. I must just be one myself, cause I can’t seem to let myself depend on anyone but me and my Miss. On days like today, however, I think about my identity as a Dad and gotta laugh. I’ve been one for thirty years now, longer than I’ve been almost anything beside husband. Here’s my take on my dadship. Here’s the melody line…

I’m divided.

Our first two sons were fathered by a dad who spanked ’em, disciplined them, and demanded performance from them. And, of course, who played with them like a big brother. I always wanted a little brother and at 25 I guess I thought I had one. I was a TOUGH and tender dad. I was never a screamer but I meant business. I took my responsibility as their dad seriously and tried to do it right. I read about it, talked to Pastors about it, tried different approaches with Miss, and was generally very, very, very involved with them.

Our next two were fathered by a dad who couldn’t get himself to be tough any longer. I never spanked Krit and never even thought about spanking Tay. Miss would say I spoiled them both. She would be right. I took my job just as serious. I played with them both like a banchee. I think I disciplined them, but not anything like the first two. I let them get away with a whole lot more. It’s hard to admit, but it’s true. And, since I started BTL when they were both still at home, I got to show them my work and life becoming integrated. They noticed a more humane human, I tend to think. They actually saw their Dad when they came home from school and oftentimes when they left. I didn’t put Tay to bed like I did the first three. I went up to his bed and we cuddled. We cuddled for years. He kept inviting me up. I couldn’t ever say no. I couldn’t ever say no.

There’s the theme of my dadship; I couldn’t say no. In my mind at least, the first two never asked. I guess I’m partially to blame. You see, being a Dad has always been my most important job. I’ve poured myself into it. I’ve done the best I could and have been present and put off promotions to be even better. I’ve done a lot of things right and yet I’m shocked at how I went wrong.

I’m a divided Dad. I live in a divided house. I want things to be put to rights. I want justice with others and prefer grace for me. I want somebody to recipricate and I don’t even know how to keep score properly. And, the funniest piece to my puzzle is I’m the toughest builder of leaders I’ve met. I am super tough on my clients, just ask them. I kick ASS all day and everyday. I make my clients do what they can and my clients can do a lot. Yet when I look at my leadership in the world of work and reflect back on the early promotions, the crazy successes, the great teams I’ve been a part of, the hallmark of my leadership was anything but tough. Back in the CompuServe day I wasn’t tough on anybody until Quinner stopped me in my tracks one day in Chicago and told me I was supposed to be running a company; not a country club. Funny, huh…

I guess I’m just a divided dude. I started my business life pussyfooting around; tougher than nails now. I started my dadship demanding and tough and now I can’t even act like it if I want to. Hell, Miss has to be the bad dad at least some of the time or it just aint happening! As my flight descends into port columbus I guess I’m feeling a bit more peaceful about my division within. God knows I’m divided in countless more ways than my conscious mind can even handle. And yet He still loves me. Oh how I wish I was capable of that.

Here is some good news. He promises to take all these divisions and make ’em whole. God promises to put all things to right. It is good to believe there is a Dad whose not divided. It is good to make peace with your divisions and know that someday all will be well with your soul.

I hope you Dads (and Moms) out there are doing your best and getting comfortable with your division. And it is my prayer that you allow your heavenly Dad to help you and all your divisions. You see, I believe, He’s just that kinda Dad. He never grows tired or weary of our requests for help in our seemingly endless times of need. I guess that’s why I can’t stop asking…

God, help me.

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