I have been fortunate to learn the greatest truths, many a times, in the most unlikely situations. As humans, we not only hear through sounds, but touch, sight, smell, and taste. What do I mean hear through touch, sight, smell, and taste? Well, they all inform us of danger, pleasure and goodwill, don’t they?
A few years back, I had the opportunity of registering a thirteen year old in the local Cadet Corp where I live. I was invited to stay for a while the first day and this is the sum of what I learned!.
The rookies were all starry eyed shy, standing very unsure of what to expect I guess. Then the commander instructed them to stand in a line, which they promptly did,considering the sound of authority and command. Then, the commander gave another instruction. ” stretch out your hand directly in front of you such that you cannot touch the person in front and also those behind and beside in a 360 degrees radius!”
As soon as the instruction ended, this girl made eye contact with me as she was moving back to make room as per instruction. Why did she you’ll ask. She remembered!! Well, I had been telling her about been aware of herself – safe distance to stand when talking to people, and also to ensure her own personal safety. I had given many examples while at home, in the kitchen, knife in hand cutting apples. Standing an arms length away gives you room to ward off unwelcome attack, make a dash for safety, protect oneself on reflex and the likes. This preteen turned teenager at that time was always breaking this social rule which I was trying to teach her but now, its been confirmed! I was right all along.
Fast forward about a month ago, while taking a group photograph, I struck a pose and this young lady was there. She could not wait after the picture to correct me for breaking the rules. She corrected me right on spot, I was embarrassed but knew she was right! I had acted on impulse, disobeying this rule of thumb. I promptly made adjustment, but not before all the blood in my body moved to my face, blushing right to my heart!!!!(:
Then few days into the new year, I was sitting down with a fourth grader, talking to him about my expectation of him this new year and making resolutions. We agreed on some points, suggestions were made and we both smiled. Then another lesson learned for me here is. He said, ” and you mummy, giving me my own new year resolutions: no.1- you have to leave home early for work – during the holidays, I was always rushing out of the house, am running late had become a song, parting words, almost daily while brushing a kiss on his forehead. No.2 – make sure we get to church on time, ‘cos am always late to my class” he said. No. 3- Work on your anger this year mummy, you yell often for no reason he said. It took me more seconds to respond and a lot more days now that I have been thinking about this message from this gems, a reflection of character.
What a better way for the Lord to talk to me, I thought, and I have since made amends. I have repented of my sins, turned on a new leaf and improving daily even as I write to you. Thanks be to God for a hearing ear, seeing eye, a receptive heart and most of all a humble spirit to accept feedback with gratitude. No one is perfect so there is always room to improve.
What am I getting at here? What message am I trying to pass across to you my friends. The message is that you are not making any real impact on your wards, children both physical and spiritual, if you are not seeing the evidence of what (hopefully good and fairness) you have invested in them manifesting even slightly in the most subtle of ways. They must be inspired to be assertive with sound judgement. Except if what you have invested is sown in hypocrisy, and they always see right through!
As a parent, a leader, you must be such that your children can access you and be free to speak their minds without the fear of retribution. Do not take every opinion and action as as an act of insubordination. You must be able to receive feedback from your children! You will be training them to be authentic, assertive and forthright! There is always room to improve on your game! Be open to your children’s feedback and complaint. It will help you to be a better parent and influencer. It is also a test of your leadership.
Sometime ago, at a meeting, the speaker got up to speak and it was quite obvious she was under the weather. Where I was seated, I could see mucus running down her nose while she attempt to pull it back in. The moment she stepped down, I was about to write a note and pass to her but then, what about those sitting next to her I thought. It was unfortunate that none bothered to tell her throughout until she realize herself, very much latter. I have seen many doing and saying what is obviously wrong and none to correct or point out, I presume. When you are at a place where no one can give you feedback without fear of retribution, you are stagnant and a stale drink. Open up to feedback and you are fresh and vibrant.
As a student of human behavior, it was clear she might not have been accessible and open to others opinion and suggestions in time past. I sensed that she might be one to refuse any form of feedback, with a fallacious sense of perfection. Some will brush it aside and you wonder why you even bothered to point it out. Over time when anyone is known to detest correction or observation of any kind, those around this dominating personality will be conditioned to only speak that which fans the fancy of that personality if they speak at all.
I will leave you with these leadership quotes:
” Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.” – U.S. Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf
” Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch, former GE chairman and CEO
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward, Author
” If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” President John Quincy Adams
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”- Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft.
As a guardian, parent, and leader, strive to lead such that your wards, without your presence, in autonomy, make real and commensurate impact like you would under the same circumstances.
Shalom! Shalom! Shalom!