"You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That's assault, not leadership."
~Dwight D. Eisenhower
This week in class we read and discussed an inspiring article of literature titled, "Divine-centered Leadership." It actually wasn't until I was in class on Monday (the word document we received the material in had no author name) that I discovered something exciting. The speaker we had, Neal Cox, had a physical, bound copy of the text, and my dad's name was on the front!! Woah! I mean, I knew he had written SOMETHING during his time at BYU, but they still USE it! And I got to read it in a CLASS! WAY COOL.
Anyway, returning to the actual subject of this blog, which is the CONTENT, not the author (sorry Dad) of said material. The driving question stated in the very first section after the introduction is "What would the Lord have me do?"
Jesus Christ beckons us to follow Him; He doesn't drag us behind with a rope around our necks. Love is the only leash He needs. Others have motives like pride, power, control, and greed; they are sometimes successful for small periods of time, but eventually they will have a rebellion on their hands, no matter how appealing their logic or ideas. People want, more than anything, to be loved and to feel that love. Christ as a leader knows this, and so His motive for leadership is love. In love, there is power. It is not an overwhelming drive for power over people, but instead it is striving for the power that can be found and made WITH people. Love also has pride, but it is quiet pride for hardship conquered, goals reached, and growth achieved. Love has control, again not over something or something, but in something, such as oneself. Love is never greedy, but it is always sought after and should be given without hesitation. Love is the best, and in my opinion, only, form of true leadership.
Divine-centered Leadership outlined five main things a leader should do or have in order to not only be successful, but to become the sort of leader the Lord would have him or her become. They are:
Model the Way, the Truth, and the Life
Know Each Heart
Serve others so they may Act
After all the discussions, we were instructed to choose one and discuss it in this blog. I immediately knew which one I would use. Based on my personality test results (see previous blog), it is known that I am drawn towards assisting others in discovering their potential. A HUGE part of that is finding ways to give them a glimpse of that potential without throwing back the curtain and forcing them into the role that, for now, is too big for them. Some growth and learning on their part is required. This reminds me a little of my younger sister. She is a wonderful young woman now, very energetic and delightful to be around. When she was younger she LOVED to dress up, and LOVED to try on all my hand-me-down clothes. She would then want to wear them everywhere, and to have them for her own. The only problem was that she was, and still is, a very thin girl. I have always had a different body type, and therefore, my clothes simply did not fit her. They hung off her small frame in a ridiculous, baggy way, or slid right off her waist unless she hiked them WAY up or wore a belt. My mother usually caught her wearing such items and made her take them off and put them in a box until she had grown enough to fit into them.
It is the same with all children of God. Sometimes we want, or others want to help us, put on a version of ourselves that, while better, we just haven't grown into yet. The tricky part in being one of those helpful people is knowing how to nudge in the right direction and challenge just enough to give them the opportunity to realize for themselves who they can be, so when they step into those shoes their feet fit just right.
And, once they are ready, these children can do as you did for them and in turn lead others to their potential. It's one of those gifts that costs nothing and will keep giving for generations to come.
The greatest way to begin this process is through love, and love in action is SERVICE.
In every meeting I am in for Choose to Give, I am reminded that we are students giving to students. We are just a small group of perhaps twelve, mobilizing and recruiting volunteers so we can raise money for our fellow students to attend this grand university. But a dozen people stepping up and leading the way can inspire hundreds, if not thousands, to give of themselves. And so we serve; we donate time, effort, ideas, and other little bits of ourselves to focusing outside of what WE need to give our fellows what THEY need. In doing so, we light the path others can follow to achieve the same things. Action leads to action, like a game of dominoes. All it takes is one movement, one touch of a finger, and those small tiles will move until all are touching, all are connected, and potential is realized. Takes that first action to accomplish this, however. It takes each tile being close enough to the next one in order for the final goal to be accomplished.
Applying this to my mentoring, which I just began, is not difficult either. I have one hour to spend with a beautiful, intelligent little first grader. She is darling, but she has a lot to learn. I should know--I've been through almost 13 years of school now, and I haven't made a dent in all the learning that can take place in this mortal existence! But I get the opportunity to share what knowledge I do have with her. It doesn't matter that I have to practically run from campus after class to get to the elementary school on time. It doesn't matter that afterwards I have to sprint back to make it to my next one. What matters is making sure this girl is given the chance to grow. I can't pound the idea that "This is a circle, that is a square." Into her head. I have to lovingly, and PATIENTLY, teach her until she understands the concepts herself. And maybe someday, while she may not remember me teaching her, she will remember that SOMEONE taught her the difference between a circle and a square, and that if no one had loved her enough to give that service, she wouldn't have gotten very far. This, in turn, could inspire her to do the same for someone else.
It isn't usually very difficult to give, but when it is and we give anyway, we are blessed beyond measure, and so are those we serve, and so are their children, and their children's children. True leadership, akin to discipleship, is service. Service is love in action. Love is the way and the light of Christ. There is no other way to serve, no other way to lead, no other way to follow Him.