June 13, 2008


I like to hang out in bookstores. Yes, I know that may seem a little peculiar to those of you who don't know me well. But I love nothing more than to grab a handful of new books, nestle into one of those big comfy chairs and read until the print gets blurry. That means; A: I have overindulged myself by drinking six frappie lappy carmel coffee heaven drinks or B: The security guard has swatted me over the head with one of the books that litter the floor in front of me, causing the mouthful of the frappie lappy caramel coffee heaven drink to spew across his plastic badge thus landing me posterior first outside the bookstore. (This is a true story...sort of)

I frequent many sections in the bookstore, but the one I always try to avoid like the plague is the "Leadership/Business" section. If the titles weren't dubious enough* the publishers thought it would be a great idea to put the author (about 99.9 percent who are middle-aged or elder white dudes) on the cover with his ill-fitting suit and bad hair. Or another funny tactic is using a really BIG number on the front cover like 101 or 21 or 10 you fill in the blank for what the numbers help you do. Like, The 14 laws of boring leadership books. 

But something happened the other day that made me stop dead in my tracks. I realized that as a director to students I AM a LEADER whether I want to be or not. The old me is saying "how much does that suck?". I spent my first thirty years thinking that a "leader" was a person who kissed up to "the man"and was a self-imposing, arrogant, out-of-touch dictator of a person. (not the kind of person to invite to your bar-b-q)

I then realized it was me who was arrogant, selfish and unteachable. See, the fact of the matter is that those people who I looked up to the most exacted some measure of leadership and influence in my life. Whether it was a football coach, a professor or pastor, these people looked to invest something in my life. I realized that personal growth does not occur in a vacuum and that good leadership was more about facilitating growth in others. 

See in the past I made the wrong assumption that leaders were in it for themselves or to promote their own name. (And for some people this is true, But not for all) But, now that I see leadership from a different perspective I actually don't mind flipping through the pages of those books. I am just tapping into this part of my life and am understanding the perspective of good leadership. I have a long long way to go, but at least I understand that this is important part of helping others. Leadership is scary to me because I think it is a greater responsibility than I could ever have imagined. 

But this is where I fall off and God's grace takes over. Good thing for that huh! Well Im out, thanks for listening to the ramble. May God move you to lead those around you whether it be your child, family, community or world. Peace!

* titles include: "Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive" (sounds like a fun guy to hang out with huh?) "The Leadership Challenge" (Is our next retreat going to be a crappy version of the amazing race or the biggest loser?) "High Five! The Magic of Working Together" (I can't even make fun of that one, it does it all on its own)