Ever try one of those teachable moments with your kids that gets turned back on you? As in, Who’s teaching whom?
Twenty or so years ago, we were living in West Alabama and I took Cassie, about age 9, to the local shopping center (translation: Walmart). It was just before Easter. We didn’t find whatever it was we were looking for, so we left past the customer service counter.
“Daddy,” she whispered. “Look… those people are poor!”
“Those people” were a middle-aged married couple, standing at the customer service desk. They were very humbly dressed, to be sure. And they had all the individual parts to make their own Easter baskets – apparently not able to afford the prepackaged wonders that were for sale in the back.
Ah, Fatherhood! The opportunities we have to engage with our children at teachable moments to give them perspective, wisdom, and character. This was certainly one of them, and a donned my SuperDad cape. [click to continue…]
This is a true story. The names are changed.
Will was an insecure, painfully shy 11-year-old boy who came from a very poor family. But his sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Goodwin, saw something special in him – not just in the student he was at the time, but as the adult he could become. And through that year, she began to give Will a gift that no one to that point had ever dared offer – the gift of confidence.
She told him he was the smartest student she ever had. She said it to him personally and to the class.
She told him how much potential he had.
She took him to her home.
She even took him to the junior high school he would attend the next year to introduce Will to his teachers and tell them what a great student he was.
She told him that the only other student who showed his potential became the vice president of a well-known university.
True to Mrs. Goodwin’s prediction, Will became the first person in his family to go to college. Buoyed by her care and concern he went on to a successful academic career… as a… (you guessed it) vice president of a major university.
Mrs. Goodwin was more than a teacher. She was a leader. She saw in an awkward kid a destiny that nobody else saw. Put in leadership terms, she had a vision. Then she set about investing the time and service necessary to put Will on a path toward that vision.
And the tool she used: Influence. [click to continue…]
I’d rather write about just about anything than this. But Jesus said a few things about little ones and offenses and millstones, and I believe Him.
So can we talk about the secrets we keep? And the ones we shouldn’t?
Last week a group of Evangelical leaders joined together to release a statement in conjunction with the American Association of Christian Counselors and an organization called GRACE, which stands for “Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.”
Boz Tchividjian, the executive director of GRACE, said of the statement, “To my knowledge, this is the first major public statement by the evangelical world regarding the horrors of sexual abuse within the church and the dire need to begin addressing this in a manner that loves and serves those who have been so hurt. This is a historic moment in the life of the Church.”
My God, what took us so long? And I do mean “us.” [click to continue…]
I’m a huge believer that the quality of your life and leadership is the direct result of the quality of the questions you ask. Ask good questions, you get good answers and good direction. Ask lame questions, you get lame directions. Ask no questions at all, and you’ll soon be the blind bleeding the blind.
Here are seven daily questions any leader, parent, or achiever can ask quickly to zero in on the most effective use of your time and life. Answering any three daily can quickly shape your day and your influence. Aligning the answers to all seven daily can revolutionize it.
This little collection uses the classic “five W’s and an H – who what, when where, why and how – with an added little bonus – an “if” question. [click to continue…]
Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret (John 18:20).
Want to lead like Jesus?
Stop hiding your agenda. [click to continue…]
I didn’t know it would be the last time.
But then again, we both had lived long enough to know there are no guarantees when it comes to this sort of thing.
It was in Orlando, coming up on three years ago. Rick said he’d drive me back to the airport. We had been together during the Southern Baptist Convention. (It would be less-than-honest if I said we had been there FOR the Southern Baptist Convention). But we used the meeting there as an opportunity for a reunion of the Wolfepack. Rick was always the undisputed leader of that gang.
During a difficult time in my life, they had made sure to include me in the meeting. And it was as though we had never missed a beat. That’s the nature of the truest of friends.
Rick dropped me off at the airport to fly home. Just after walking into the terminal, I realized to my horror that I had left my phone in his car. I found a way to call it, and of course, he turned around and brought it back to me.
He took that picture of himself on it (above), and made it the wallpaper.
That was Rick.
And I kept it as my wallpaper for about a month after my wife started asking, “How long are you going to keep that?” [click to continue…]
Interesting question came up yesterday. If leaders are people who are influencing others to go somewhere or move in a certain direction, where should we be leading them to go?
Paul had a simple answer to that: “Follow me as I follow Christ,” he said (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Okay, so, my answer wasn’t so spiritual. But I think it works, both for presidents and pastors, middle managers and mentors.
Where should we be leading people?
Hey, it works for Richard Branson.
Actually I use S.P.A.C.E. as an acronym for five directions we should all be pursuing. Tell me what you think: [click to continue…]
Our Thai friend Gift is back. She visited us for the first time last year and has returned with her sister Goy. It’s always a delight to spend time with our Thai friends because of their contagious joy, their delight in serving, and in the case of Gift, her husband Dui, and Goy, their deep love for Jesus Christ.
It also always leads to some interesting conversations. Gift is many things – a deep thinker, a shrewd businesswoman and entrepreneur, a disciple in every sense of the word. She told me that this time while she was here, every once in a while she wanted some time to ask some questions.
Fine, I said. Feel free to ask anything.
Lo and behold, she nailed me with the first one. She was looking at one of the books I had out – a book on leadership – and she asked, “Why do Americans study and read so much about leadership?”
That sound you didn’t just hear were the crickets chirping in my head.
Somebody just asked the fish to explain water.
“Well,” I said to break the awkwardly long silence and try to get that deer-in-the-headlights look off my face, “that’s the first time anybody has ever asked me that.”
Wow. That was really helpful. [click to continue…]
David was on the chopping block. His organization had just been hit by a hostile takeover attempt. To say his leadership was being called into question is putting it mildly. But even when people from within his own ranks were calling for his head, this exceptional leader emerged with a decisive plan and executed a remarkable comeback.
His first step: He had to quiet his own soul. Before he could silence his outer critics, he had to get his inner one to shut up.
Hannah was sitting in church one day, but the worship service was probably the last thing on her mind. She carried an ache that is only known by those women who have longed desperately to have a child and were unable to. It had reached a point way past sadness… Hannah was angry. And her inner rage had to be dealt with. So Hannah took decisive action.
Her first step: She had to quiet her own soul. Before she could make nice at the church house, she had to empty her heart of its poison. A year later, she had a son. [click to continue…]
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You’ll want to read the instruction manual for full details on putting the Leaderail® system into practice. This document is meant just to introduce you to your Leaderail® package contents. [click to continue…]