Joe, stepdad of two teenage boys, recounts:
"How tall is it?" I ignorantly asked a Kenyan missionary.
"Mount Kilimanjaro is over 19,000 feet tall," he smiled. "It's big!"
No kidding, I thought. I could see the outline of the tallest mountain in Africa from my third-floor Nairobi apartment 130 miles away. "It might take a while to climb, huh?"
Boy, is that an understatement. On average it takes an expedition four to seven days to climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro. And why do people climb it? Because it's there, right? Just conquering the challenge is one reason people take on this massive testimony to God's creativity. And then there's the view from the top. On a clear day you can see for hundreds of miles in a 360-degree panoramic view. Oh, yes, there's plenty of reward for those who conquer the mountain. But it often doesn't feel worth it until you reach the top.
(P. C. Glick, "Remarried families, stepfamilies, and stepchildren: A brief demographic profile," Family Relations, 38 (1989): 24-27.)
Conquering Stepdad Mountain might not be as rugged as climbing one of the world's tallest peaks, but it will probably take longer than you expect. And you're not just climbing because it's there. You're climbing because it matters. Yes, there is reward for you at the top, but there's also reward for your family and stepchildren. How you live, love, and/or lead your stepchildren (and biological children) will create a legacy and heritage that long outlives you. It's important that you climb well.1