The day started out to be a challenging one with both me and my lovely bride, Valerie, being terribly sick. Every joint in my body hurts and I felt like I just participated in a cage fight with a Polar Bear. I will admit to you that I am in no way “Mr. Wonderful” when I am sick! Today my grandson, Josiah James Soto, who is three years old and who has the most delightful personality was with me (PAPA) and my wife Valerie who he calls (MEMAW). It was late in the afternoon and Josiah likes to walk into PAPA’s office and sit in front of my desk and just talk. He comes in with his little container of potato chips (He is a Soto we all enjoy the Salt & Vinegar), sits down and slightly leaning over the table looking at me in the eye’s he confidently says, “PAPA!” He pauses then continues, “I have a question to ask you?” I was somewhat taken back by the vocative tone of his question and I responded, “Josiah, what is your question – PAPA is listening?” Josiah’s question was going to set this “Grandpa Moment” to be what the Greeks would call a “Kairos” moment in time that is filled with opportunity, a moment pregnant with eternal significance and possibility. It is what people involved in sports call “A Game Changer.” Josiah then went on to say, “PAPA you have not told me the things you think about me and I am waiting to hear them?” That moment I knew exactly what Josiah was alluding to because every day he is with me I tell him my three declarations concerning what I believe about him. Excitedly I asked Josiah to come and sit on my lap and I looked him the eyes and declared: “PAPA loves you!” PAPA believes in you!” Increasing the crescendo of my voice I bellow, “PAPA knows that God has given you a great purpose in life and you are going to do great things!” Josiah is clapping when I finish my statements and with a big hug he says, “I love you PAPA and you make my heart feel real good!” In the midst of my headache and a stomach that feels like it is a blender my grandson gave me a “Kairos” moment.
I would have to say that I had a “Back to the Future” moment. My mind flashes back to my grandfather Victor Soto who would sit down at a breakfast table and make the same declarations to me when I was my grandson’s age. He was the same grandfather who would cheer loudly at my football games shouting out with all his breath after I would make a tackle on the football field, “That’s my boy!” It was my same grandfather who was at my college graduation from LIFE Bible College ran up to the stage at Angelus Temple and embraced me weeping on my shoulder and repeating over and over again how proud he was of me.
In my reflection concerning this ‘Grandpa Moment” I am exploring the possibility that repeating the legacy that was given to me by my grandfather to my grandson is another step of maturity on my journey to becoming a better man that will be reflected in me being a more effective leader. I wonder if it was these types of moments that the Apostle Paul had in mind when writing from a Roman prison he writes to his spiritual son Timothy this declaration, ”I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you” 2 Timothy 1:5-6, NLT. The apostle is reminding his young student to remember some of the moments he has had with his mother and grandmother. This deeply touches me because when I have faced challenging situations I have remembered the words of my grandfather, “I love you!” “I believe in you!” “I know that God has a great purpose for your life and you will do great things!”
I am no expert on all the nuances of building a legacy but after today I think I will continue to live my life by the Latin phrase “Carpe diem” ‘seize the day.” Or better yet – “Seize the moment.” In my reflection I am beginning to understand that it is an accumulation of these “Kairos” moments that define what is a Legacy!