I recently attended the Global Leadership Summit. It is always wonderful to attend conferences that have amazing speakers who challenge me to not only become a better leader but overall a better person. Like the previous year, I walked away with lots of thoughts about how can I improve in all aspects of my life and what areas did I need to start working on immediately. One of the areas I was convicted to improve upon was my parenting skills. Having a child with special needs has made me really become introspective about parenting a typical child. I find myself over celebrating the little things with Tyler who has fragile x and expecting the same thing with no celebration for Austin who is neuro-typical.

One of my favorite speakers is Andy Stanley. I have listened to so many of his teachings over the years and have several of his quotes posted around my office. During his talk at the summit he said, “Your greatest contribution to the world may not be something you do but someone you raise”. It really made me think about how I was raising my boys. He also discussed how so often when people come to us with an idea, our first response is often asking about how they intended to make that happen. We stifle creativity and put up barriers. Instead his challenge was for us to not have an immediate how response but rather a wow response.

I was immediately convicted that I probably too often respond to Austin with a how response. He is 7 and extremely creative and I often ask him “how would that even be possible, Austin”? Unlike like Tyler who gets lots of my wows for simple things like using full sentences or performing a standard task, I have been shutting Austin’s creativity down with making him explain instead of celebrating his creative mind.

We say in The Mandt System that we want to build people up and not tear people down. When we respond first with how it is blocker or a destroyer. When we respond first with wow we truly are helping build people up. The real challenge for me is to become a wow dad and not a how dad!

Tim Geels – Senior Vice President of Org Development