“Come on guys, follow me!” – Everett Stalnecker
Every year the men from our church take the younger men, the boys, on a three day camping trip. I always look forward to these time. My son Ethan and I have ten years of great memories from these trips.
This year was a little different for us though. I was finally able, after much reassurance, begging, and promising that I would not come home if something bad happened, able to convince my wife to let my four year old, Everett, come along. Everett is the one pictured above holding the very first fish that he had ever caught. We made some great memories and it was fun watching him take in everything for the first time. By the end of three days he thought that he was the king of the mountain!
I am always amazed by the things that I learn, or re-learn, by watching my kids. I love spending time with them and come away with so many great lessons. This trip was no exception. On our way to the fishing spot where this whale was caught, we had to cross a road, a few small trails and a lot of pretty good sized rocks. Both I and Ethan had been to this spot before but Everett had not even been in this part of the state let alone this one fishing hole. He would however not let his lack of experience or ability slow him down.
As we parked the truck and got out he was so excited that he started walking toward the lake. He was walking the right direction but was the only one of us that did not know exactly where we were going. He stopped after a few steps and I assumed he had finally realized that he needed help. As is usual, I assumed incorrectly.
Apparently, he stopped because he felt like we were taking too long. Without hesitation or reservation my four year old looked at his teenage brother and his dad and said, “Come on guys, follow me!” He did not know exactly how to get to where he was going, he did not know what he would do when he got there and he failed to acknowledge the potential difficulties in front of Him.
He was not qualified to lead. But he didn’t care. Someone needed to show the way and he concluded that no one else was going to do it. So he did. Not because he was qualified but because he was there and someone needed to step up.
Leadership is often like this. In a world that needs leadership one of the most difficult things to find is leaders! I am sure that there are many reasons for this but think that in most cases it just comes down to one very simple problem; we do not feel qualified to lead. We can acknowledge that something needs to be done but do not feel like we are the ones to do it.
While a lack of ability and even opportunity may prevent us from leading in some places, we must be committed to lead where we are. Someone needs to lead and if we are not the ones, then it is just possible that no one else will step up.
We need to remember that our families, our workplace, our neighborhoods and our communities need leadership if they will be all that they can and must be.
But how can we do this? With the odds against us and the path forward unclear how do we lead where we are?
1. Be the very best that we can be in all that we do.
2. Remain faithful and consistent in every area of life.
3. Take responsibility for our actions and refuse to blame other people or circumstances for our failures.
4. Stay positive and be encouraged. If we are doing the first three things on this list, we are providing leadership worth following.
While I may not recommend following a four year old down a mountain trail, I do believe we can learn from his example. We need to stop focusing on our perceived lack of ability or opportunity and instead focus on the need at hand.
We are all qualified to lead where we are.
Stand up, look around, determine the direction that you want to go and then say without hesitation or reservation, “Come on guys, follow me!”