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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leadership like a Grandpa


My brother Tim and his wife Cyd are now proud grandparents. Their granddaughter, Amelia was born yesterday. That now makes my younger brother much older that I am! But more than that, I have noticed something about his language over the months that he has been preparing to be a grandfather; it's all about them. He would tell me about his son and daughter-in-law, about their plans and hopes, concerns and challenges. And it was always in a tone of hope and encouragement, a deep joy in their success and achievement.
Martha and I are in the early stages of preparing for grandparenthood and sense the same inner shift in our hearts and minds. When we were first married, we were all about us; building our home, our nest, our careers, our identities. When we had our children, we were about them and their growth and success. But often I was competitive with other children and other parents. When another parent shared the success of their child, I would counter with an equal or greater success of my child. Their success was really and extension of my dreams and success. No place did that play itself out better than on the sports or music platform.
I guess when our children married, I began feeling the shift from "it's about me" to "it's really about them." But hearing my brother's language about his children and now grandchildren is all about them. There is very little "I", "me" or "my" language. Even their energy and time is not about their convenience but about what their children and grandchild need.
Shift that whole notion to the church: disciples who make disciples really need to be in the mindset of the grandparent who only wants the success of the little ones. Great worship and programs in the church, from a grandparent viewpoint is about others and not my professional accomplishment. Grandparent leadership in the staff is about encouraging and equipping others to succeed and not about me getting the credit or being up front. It's about taking the pictures and not being in them. So, lead like a grandpa (or grandma)!

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