February 12 is Abraham Lincoln's birthday. It's also my late father's birthday.
Benjamin Abraham Mikolaj got his middle name after being born on February 12. Pictured above with the two women I love most in the world, my wife and my mother, I celebrate and remember him with you today because among the many lessons he taught me, there is something he gave me that you may find value in, too.
When I was around 16 or 17 years old, I had a period when I was not the most agreeable of persons most of the time. One week, I had been particularly disrespectful towards Mom and argumentative with seemingly everyone. Instead of sitting me down and giving me a lecture or punishing me, he did something uniquely Dad.
The next day I came home from school, I found a yellow legal pad page with this in his handwriting on my dresser:
A Father’s Prayer
Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak,
You see, my dad was usually a man of few words. Born in the middle of the Great Depression, who came of age during World War II, and who served in the Korean War, his stoic style was common.
So, to discover such depth and wisdom coming from him through a prayer he shared with me sitting there on my dresser had an impact on me that continues to resonate today. He was offering me a shot at greater meaning and purpose beyond my selfish perspective and in his way, was giving me a chance to develop me into a better man than the path I was on in that moment.
Beyond the immense wisdom in the prayer itself, are the lessons of how he led and taught that to me.
He didn't need pomp and circumstance, a long-winded lecture, punishment, or yelling and screaming. Like Lincoln, he modeled gentle persuasion, persistence and grit, subtle strength, and integrity. Dad's typical stoic nature created the space that when he did communicate, it stood out. And he could do it through sharing his prayer.
My prayer today is to live up to the wisdom in his prayer and his example.
Happy birthday, Dad!
You and Mom are my first and best teachers and leaders!
Have an amazing journey today!
Alan Mikolaj is a coach and leadership development consultant with 15+ years of experience. He is passionate about helping leaders transform their leadership, their teams, and their organizations. Impactful, professional approach driven by a passion for meaning and purpose, a growth mindset, and a commitment to excellence and service in order to drive change and results.
Alan maintains the ethics and standards of behavior established by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), including the standards regarding confidentiality. You can learn more about them on the ICF website.
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
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