This week is our long anticipated family vacation in the Outer Banks. We were desperate for a low-key getaway that didn’t involve a plane ride. Unfortunately, it involves an 8-hour car ride with 7 people in one minivan (our best priest friend is joining us…because he’s insane). As soon as school finished, the kids asked when they could start packing. We finally gave them the "green light" and told them that they needed to pack light because we had limited space in the car. The response from the 3 oldest children was fascinating. Responsible Annie made no fewer than 12 lists, prioritizing and re-prioritizing, crossing off and adding back with several very loud, exasperated sighs included throughout. Seven-year old Katie jammed many things into a backpack and then cried when she realized she had not packed any clothes and repeated that process daily for a good week. And then there was Peter – sweet, 4 and three quarters old, Peter. When I asked him to show me his bag, he said he didn’t need a bag. He proudly held up his Batman action figure in one hand and one pair of Spider-man underwear in the other hand. Trying not to laugh, I asked if that was really all he was bringing. “Well Dad. You know, God. He’s the boss. I packed Him first.”
Thinking about my three very different children, I couldn’t help but think how my approach to packing might mirror my approach to leadership. I can only bring so much to any of the moments in which I lead. Am I intentional in prioritizing what I need for that leadership moment or do I just cram in whatever is right around me? Do I bring what I want or what I need? Do I pack God first? Peter might need more than one pair of Spider-man underwear for seven days, but something tells me his mindset might yield the best journey.