“True success is measured not by skill sets, achievements, or religious morality, but by love.”
The above quote comes from Scot Sauls who wrote the book Befriend: Create Belonging in an Age of Judgment, Isolation, and Fear. This is book number twenty in my goal to read twenty-four books by the end of the year.
True success is not measured by what we achieve but how we love. Specifically, how we love God and other people. Being people of love is something that my wife and I try to impart into our kids on a daily basis. We aren't perfect, but we hope that they learn from our examples and live a life of love.
I had the opportunity to eat lunch with Maddie last week at her school. When you eat lunch with your kids at school, they have the option of inviting some of their friends to eat with them too. Maddie and I were joined by two of her friends. We talked and laughed and had a good time.
Maddie got up for a minute during our lunch to ask her teacher a question. One of her friends spoke up and said, "Maddie is a great friend. She's nice and cares about the people in our class. She always shares her snack with me because I can't bring a snack from home. Sometimes she brings extras for other kids too."
Talk about a proud dad moment. A fourth grader knows that Maddie loves her and cares about her. Even something simple, like sharing snacks, can mean the world to someone else.
I also found out that same day that my son Austin showed love in a practical way to a friend of his. He has been having some issues with a kid at school. This particular kid will often yell at Austin, swear at him, bother him during class, and get in his face. In the past, Austin would have raged at this kid. He would have turned red-faced, cried and probably hit him.
Instead, Austin asks the kid to quit and when that doesn't work he goes to the teacher. This kid bothers Austin often and it wears him out emotionally. It takes a lot of strength on his part to keep his emotions under control. We encourage him to continue showing restraint and talk to the teacher when issues arise. We encourage him to stay away from the kid if at all possible but we have been praying for him and his life at home.
One day he came home and said that it was a really bad day. We asked what had happened and apparently, Austin stuck up for a friend who was being picked on by this same kid that has been giving Austin troubles. Austin stood up for this friend, knowing that this kid would now get in his face, and was willing to take the verbal punishment for the sake of his friend. That's an act of love and a good example for me to follow.
I'm proud of my kids for a lot of reasons, but it has been amazing to hear their stories of love, empathy, and compassion. They are learning to love others and I think that is the definition of success.
Update: Austin said today was a great day at school and there were no issues at all. Thank God that prayers are being answered!