I come from a lineage of hand-standers. My grandfather could still do a headstand when he was 93. My father was a Canadian national gymnast in the 1940s. He used to walk around on his hands when he was 50. I didn’t think there was anything particularly unusual about this until my friends came over. They thought it was pretty cool.
I’ve continued the practice and my handstand picture was taken last year on my sixty-fifth birthday .
But it’s not the handstands that are important. It’s the impact. It’s the inspiration. Like any achievement, it’s the person you become to get there. It’s also about the connection. After coming home from the hospital recovering from Meningitis at the age of four, Dad took me to the gym, put me on the parallel bars and the ropes and the rings and the tumbling mat and worked with me to rebuild my strength. “Don’t pray for the world to get easier,” he would say. “Pray, instead, for you to get stronger.”
I remember the strength of his shoulders and quads and forearms and heart, lifting me gently up on those bars and patiently working with me as I learned forward and backward rolls. We’d get up early and do 5BX Workouts together all through my elementary school years.
Dad and I also spent time together driving thirty minutes to and from church every week. I don’t remember much of what I learned in church, but what I do remember is the conversations with him in the car on the way there and back. He taught me how to drive on those trips. I remember listening to Earl Nightingale with him on Sunday morning radio. We’d talk about what we learned and how he inspired us both to be better human beings.
Leaders create ripples in time that extend to generations yet unborn. Not just impact in the here and now, but in the here and forever.
What are you doing today to impact the life of someone in the next generation? You may not see the fruit of your labor, but keep planting the seeds.