Thursday, August 31, 2006

Parents: The Ultimate Servant Leaders

Though I am not a parent yet, I am convinced that good, Godly parents represent one of the best models for servant leadership. As I reflect on my years at home, on my years on my own, and even now on my year (plus a couple of months) as a husband, my parents have always modeled true servant leadership in their home and in our family. I am hard pressed to recount the number of liberties that my parents surrendered to provide a godly home. I feel confident that my father could have become a better businessman or fisherman and my mom a more prominant woman in the community or gardener, or a whole host of other things, but they chose to sacrifice much of their own personal life to ensure that my brother and I received the love, care, attention, and training that we needed.

Good parents point to the accomplishments of their children as their children's accomplishments, and not an extension of their own success. Parenting, like other leadership, takes patience and time and requires the sacrifice of many activities that may seem in the short-term to be more enjoyable or fulfilling. However, all leaders reap the rewards of their sacrifices not in the short-term, but in the long-range success of their students, families, churches, and/or organizations.

As I talk about my dad, I am reminded of the aggravation my brother and I must have caused him. We talked with him recently about one song that we used to play over and over again in his truck. Surely he grew annoyed with the repetition of that song, maybe to such a degree that it would have been easier to leave us at home with our mom (though I'm sure she wouldn't agree with that) rather than carry us along as he ran errands. But, he doesn't remember the annoying song as much as the time we spent together. The same is true of me and my brother, we remember the rides more than the song. I bet that the same is true of all great leaders and their apprentices. In the big scheme of things, the small annoyances fade into the dark places of the mind, but the long-term success of the underling becomes the crowning achievement of the servant leader.

No comments: