First, watch this video:
Reflection: Drew Dudley’s Leading with Lollipops TEDx Video
By Elizabeth Bower
I know I have had lollipop moments in my life. I hope to one day be able to recall many of them. However, in the fog of my life currently, someone else’s lollipop moment, or moments, are fresh in the forefront of my mind.
On December 22, 2018, my dad passed away unexpectedly. The sorrow of this moment took my Christmas holiday and life for a loop. Preparing for his funeral over Christmas was as surreal as it was seeing him no longer breathing. Viewing my dad for the last time on Christmas Eve before he was cremated will forever test my emotional ability to not hate Christmas for the years to come.
Amidst the grieving process, the funeral planning, and helping my mother with estate paperwork and filings, I have many moments to focus on all of my dad’s accomplishments. With laser focus, I have been pulling every memory, event, sound, smell, and piece of my dad’s being and legacy forward in my mind. I want to cherish and remember every morsel and search every crevasse of my brain for those moments that make me remember how much I loved him and how much I will never, ever forget him.
Much of what remains of my dad is not his things, but his impact he had on other people. In my own cataloging efforts, I have called to mind, so many times, how his leadership has made me and others better. My dad has been a part of so many lollipop moments. So many that he doesn’t even know about. Ones, like Drew Dudley, that he probably didn’t even remember. Unfortunately, for many people, these lollipop moments get highlighted after death when the affected come forward to share in the memory of the deceased.
At my dad’s funeral, one of my cousins told me that my dad taught him how to drive and how to play football. How his own father wasn’t in his life and my dad was there for him in so many ways. I had another cousin tell me my dad told him one time at football practice to “run the ball one thousand times.” He said, “that’s not possible,” and my dad said, “sure it is, go.” He said that conversation made him feel like he could do anything and made him a better athlete. There were even people who attended the funeral I didn’t even know. One gentleman told me how much of an impact my dad had on his life as a football coach.
Seeing the sadness and hearing these stories from people made me realize how much of a leader my dad was. He wasn’t a leader in an office or corporate setting. He wasn’t a CEO or manager. My dad worked as a mail clerk in an office building. He was a man who leads by example, gave people his time, his guidance, and his leadership. No credit was asked for, no trying to change the world or universe. He just changed lives one person at a time. One lollipop at a time.
Drew Dudley – Everyday Leadership. Filmed Sept. 2010, [YouTube] TEDx Toronto 2010 6:15 (6 min, 15 sec)