My Last Trip to Build a Bear

My Leadership Begins at Home tagline once again came to mind a couple of weekends ago as I attended the college graduation of my daughter Sarah. 

It's official ... there's a new Mercer Bear in the world. 

I remember our first trip to Build-a-Bear like it was yesterday ... only it wasn't. It was fifteen years ago that we first set foot in a mall (remember those) to pay an insane amount of money to design a teddy bear. A teddy bear that honestly looked like every other teddy bear. 

Baby Bear 1

Looking back, the first bear cost little in comparison to the college bear, and I'm not referring to tuition. I'm talking about a higher price. Truthfully the latest version has cost me my life. Every precious ounce of life. All my prayers, cares, hopes, dreams, and yes, even my money. So many bedtime stories, front porch chats, soccer practices, and tanks of gas have represented the price tag. And if you ask me, worth every second and every penny. 

Baby Bear 2For leaders the temptation is to focus on the nine to five, those hours that represent work. The idea of Leadership Begins at Home is more about what happens from five to nine ... kids aren't the only ones who need to be doing homework.

As a father, I can tell you there are few things that compare to the joy of watching your kids grow up, knowing you have attempted to be fully present. 

Along the way I learned you can read all the Dr. Seuss bedtime stories in the world, attend every game, even show up for an occasional tea party, and still miss the moments.

Let me warn you ... technology will tempt you. Your schedule will seduce you. Leadership will lure you. And if you're not extra careful graduation will represent regret.

Thankfully, my daddy regrets are few, but I do wish I had respected the time more and been even more locked in. It was hard to appreciate just how fast it would pass. 

In a few weeks most kids will go back to school, but one of mine won't. No, our time for back to school shoes and backpacks has passed. 

I'm glad my wife and I took the time to build a bear. This one very real. Costly, but now priceless. 

Way to go kid. You were worth it!

Leadership Begins at Home,


Feel free to leave Sarah a word of wisdom in the comment section below ...

I want to thank each of you who faithfully read and pass along my content to your friends and co-workers. Over the next few weeks I will be taking an extended blog break to spend extra time doing Homework. I hope you will too!

My next post will be Monday, July 20th. 

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Kristen Whitbeck Giesee

8 years ago

Sweet Sarah, although you don't know me, I rocked you to sleep when you were just a few months old. You see, your parents had a profound impact on my life as a high school student. Enough that I road tripped to Tennessee on my first spring break in college. One that affects me still today. My words of wisdom are to pursue God wholeheartedly, go on adventure with Him, stay accountable, and always listen to your parents. Blessings to you on the next chapter!

Dan Judy

8 years ago

Thanks for sharing, and great words to live by. I am like a sponge trying to soak up as much wisdom as I can right now! Sarah- Stay grounded. You know what is good and right. If your roots are strong and grounded even when the storm comes you will stand firm and not sway.

Marcy Doolittle

8 years ago

Sarah: So very happy for you and your accomplishments! You have great parents, a wonderful family, and a support system that will always be there for you. Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work unil it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Love and blessings to you always!!!


8 years ago

I couldn't be any prouder of you, Sarah! Congratulations! Enjoy your break, Randy!

Wendy Weatherford

8 years ago

Sarah, I know you realize how blessed you are. Avery's daddy joked to your parents one time that if they had some type of little shack out back, he was pretty sure Avery would move to your house, she loved being there so much. And I'm forever grateful that some of that "leadership from home" benefit rubbed off on her from (no offense to your dad) Mrs. Laura. You're ready for the world! Congrats, Sarah! ❤️

Jeremy Etress

8 years ago

RG - thanks for blogging well!
SG - Here's my advice - grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken...offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:28-29

Anita Byrd

8 years ago

Congratulations Sarah! Seek God first in all you do! What a blessing for you to have the godly parents that have invested eternal time in you! Give God all the glory!


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