Thursday, October 16, 2008

Leadership Lessons from Your Son

Last night I had the opportunity to observe my almost 16 year old son continue to mature before my eyes. My wife and I are launching a new small group, and we gathered at a friend's house to take care of the logistics and get the group going. Since the gathering was originally taking place at Panera Bread, and supper was involved, naturally he wanted to attend (he is a teenager, after all - the kind that has to eat every 3 hours or he will waste away).

Supper was fairly quiet, with routine conversation around the table. A last minute change in plans (a full moon, very temperate weather, and the offer of my friend's back porch for the small group) led us away from Panera. There were originally going to be some additional teenagers present, but for one reason or another, they didn't make it, leaving my son the only one - among 8 adults. He decided to stay with the encouragement of all of us - and ended up teaching us all a little about life and learning and what it means to be a disciple.

This particular group is coming together "for a season" with the intent of multiplying into several other groups in the next year or so. Because all four couples have teenagers, the conversation shifted toward the question of teens and what they are looking for in a group, and in church. In recounting some recent events, the group was stopped dead in its tracks by my son's comment: "You all are doing it right - you're asking questions, and listening to us."

You're asking questions, and listening to us. That's a pretty profound thought from anybody, but especially from a normally quiet teenage boy. The heart of that statement is a truth everyone in leadership needs to take to heart more often.

Who are you talking with? What questions are you asking? Are you listening - really listening?

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