Love with skin on

Love with skin on

This morning, I had a call with my bride of 25 years. Angela and my oldest son Will had headed west to visit a college where he was invited to row. The conversation went a little something like this:

“He really likes it out here. The campus is beautiful, and the coach and team were so kind and inviting. I think this might be where he is headed.”

Silence on my end.

Two memories ran through my head as I traversed Dallas traffic.

First, I recalled taking a shower 18 years ago in a tiny bathroom with hideous 1960s fixtures. As I thought about how we could change out the fixtures and the pea-green tile in our tiny, creaky first house, the plastic shower curtain was pulled back, and Angela stood there with tears in her eyes, holding a pregnancy test.

And now, the little pink line on that pregnancy test was about to move 2,000 miles out west.

Second, I thought of my friend Austin, who has a similar personality to Will. They are both Enneagram 8s. I won’t go into the details right now, but some other 8s are Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison. The truth is they are entertaining to watch from a distance but sphincter-clinching to parent.

According to him, my friend Austin, whom I deeply respect, used to be a little less refined as an adolescent. In one of my many conversations about Will, Austin offered to connect us with his parents for some perspective.

We spent an hour on Facetime, and as we described Will, they howled with laughter and regaled us with stories about Austin. Angela and I could hardly believe that our friend was ever a challenge to parent. As his parents told us the truth, we felt less alone and a deep sense of kinship. We imagined that Will might one day follow in the footsteps of Austin.

Before we hung up, Austin’s father said he would fast and pray for Will every Friday.

That was several years ago.

The week as I drove Angela and Will to the airport for his college visit, my phone dinged. It was a text from Austin’s dad asking about Will.

After I dropped them off, I called Austin’s father. I told him about Will and this opportunity. As he celebrated with me, we prayed for Will, and he committed to continue to do so every Friday.

Austin’s father stood in the gap for me in ways I could not.

He was love with skin on.

As I opened my mouth to respond to Angela, tears ran down my cheeks. All I could say was, “I am so happy.”

It was as if an 18-year-old question that started in that shower had finally been answered for me. That embryo had successfully completed this first significant season of his life. Angela and I had to. We were bruised and battered but also joyful; it was a solid script and one I would have never authored.

I wanted to share that with you because raising a child is not easy. When the wins come, they deserve celebration.

Please join me in my celebration today. If you are a praying type, we’ll take that too. 🙏

Resources for your journey:

1) Austin’s interview on Switchbacks Podcast:

2) A quote that stopped me in my tracks:

Nothing can say I love you more than feeling it.

Ocean Vuong

3) Two books to make you think:

I provide audacious coaching for courageous leaders. When you are ready, there are five ways I can help you grow:

  1. Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter, or just hit reply to this email if you have questions or want to continue the discussion.

  2. Check out Nick’s Good Books for a free list of books to help you create a new lens.

  3. Online courses through The Good Entrepreneur Institute (Releasing six new courses in 2023)

  4. Group coaching through the Kennedy Leadership Program (Full, but please add your name to the waitlist to be notified when enrollment opens again.)

  5. Private coaching as a Platinum Coaching Client (Full, but add your name to the waitlist to be notified of openings in the future.)

Talk soon,