All of us are leaders and all of us are followers. Some leaders are good leaders, others are not very good leaders and still others can get you completely off track like blind leading the blind. If you want to be a good leader, you must also be a good follower and a good follower choose well, whom he will follow.
Wherever you might find yourself in the realm of leader and follower, you can be sure that you are both. You might be thinking, like I was, “Me? A leader? You’ve got to be kidding!” But you can be sure that someone’s following you. Maybe it’s your kids or a student in your classroom or the neighbor or a friend, but someone is watching you and learning from what you do. The question then arises, “What does make a good leader?”
That question could be answered in a myriad of ways depending on what it is you want to be lead or what the other person wants to learn. If someone wants to learn how to cook healthier meals, then following someone who has had some experience in that realm is probably a good choice. If someone wants to know more about car repairs or home decorating or jazz music? Then they should seek-out someone who know is knowledgeable in those areas. Of course there are always the self help methods. You-Tube and the internet in general abounds with instructional videos.
However, we are talking about leading here not following, right? How do I become a good leader? How can I lead people well and not get off track or muddle along losing traction? Just knowing about the area you want to lead, doesn’t necessarily make you good leader. A good leader also needs to know how to communicate or teach his skills to another person, which takes us full circle back to following. If you want to be a good leader, find someone who is a good leader and follow him or her. Finding someone who is a good leader is no easy task, because, as was already stated, there is a wealth of information out there, but not all of it is good. Some information is helpful and some is quite questionable, just like some leaders are helpful and some will lead you down the wrong path. There are a lot of voices that vie for our attention, a lot of things that call us to follow, “Follow me on Twitter” or “Instagram” or some other site. It’s really important to choose well when you are looking to follow someone and looking for someone to help you know how to lead. Discernment is so important when choosing who you will follow because you will become like those you follow and you will lead others to go in that direction too.
Jesus called disciples to follow Him and later those same disciples led others to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Paul said, “Join together in following my example …” Phil. 3:19 Paul could say that because He was following the master leader. He was following Jesus. If you want to lead well and follow well, be sure you are following Jesus.
I do want to lead well. I want to lead my family well and the kids that I do chapel with. I want to lead my women’s group well. I want to love like you love and serve like you serve, but I also realize how very important it is to follow. If I want to lead well, I need to pay close attention to how I am following you. It’s so easy to get sidetracked or distracted by all the other voices in my world. Teach me Lord, to listen, to watch closely and learn from you. Amen
TIPS FOR HELPING OUR KIDS LEAD & FOLLOW
* Remind them to choose well who and what they are following. As parents, we may have to say, “No!” to a destructive friendship especially when your child is young. Pay attention to what your child listening to, watching and devoting his/her time to. These are the things that will shape your child.
* Watch what you are portraying to your kids. What are you saying, doing, living and watching? If you bend the truth, chances are your kids will too. If you are watching questionable shows or going to questionable sites, chances are your kids will be more inclined to do so as well. If you devote your time to work and are not taking time to rest, you child will be affected by that.
* Affirm your child’s values of honesty, kindness and integrity. Teach them to be courageous and stand up for their values. Leadership begins when your child to be able to say, “No!” to someone who is asking him/her to go against his/her values. Other kids may be inspired by your child’s courageous stand too.
* Allow your child to begin making safe choices at an early age, but give them boundaries. Kids need to know they can make choices and think for themselves within safe boundaries. Help them understand what is a good choice and a bad choice. Allowing them to experience simple, safe consequences for their actions, can help them begin to understand when a bad choice is made. Role-playing or talking about good and bad choices can also be helpful. You can even make a game of this by having them give you a thumbs up when something is a good choice or a thumbs down when it’s a bad choice.
* Give them age-appropriate responsibilities. This gives kids a chance to learn discipline and also gives them a chance to lead. Making your child responsible for simple chores such as caring for his/her pet, putting his/her clothes away, unloading the dishwasher, are all good ways of helping your child learn responsibility.
* When playing a game or entering your child’s pretend world, let your child take the lead. They will enjoy being the leader for a time and will gain confidence in leading.
* Cheer your child on when he/she makes good choices. Let him/her know how proud you are. When a bad choice is made and consequences come, help him/her pick up the pieces. Empathize with your child. Don’t pick up the pieces for your child, but do help and encourage. Let your child that sometimes you make bad choices too and it’s okay to clean up the mess and start again.
What Can You Do With Your Child?
SHARE A STORY – Jesus At The Temple – Matt. 4:18-22, Luke 5:27-28
One day as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, (Walk, walk, walk) He saw (Place hand above eyes as though looking.) Peter and Andrew fishing. (Pretend to fish.) Peter and Andrew were brothers. Jesus called to them, “Come. Follow me. I will help you fish for people.” (Put hands by mouth and say together, “Follow me!”) Peter and Andrew stopped fishing, left their nets and just like that, they followed Jesus.
A little further down the beach, (Walk, walk, walk) Jesus saw (Place hand above eyes as though looking.) two more brothers. James and John were fishermen too. They were in their boat getting ready to fish. Jesus called, “Come, follow me.” (Put hands by mouth and say together, “Follow me!”) James and John left their boat and followed Jesus too.
Jesus asked Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow and learn from Him. They would be His disciples or helpers. They went everywhere with Jesus. Jesus was their best friend.
Later, Jesus chose others to be his disciples and follow Him too. Jesus is still looking (Place hand above eyes as though looking.) for people to follow Him. He wants you to follow Him too. He wants you to listen, learn and know about His Father, God. He wants to be your best friend forever. He wants you to love others like He loves.
How can you follow Jesus? You can ask Him to be your forever friend and forgive you for any bad or wrong things you’ve done, you can give Him your love, you can listen and learn from the Bible and you can talk to Him everyday. Jesus will help you follow Him because He loves you and wants to be your forever friend.
I want you to be my friend forever. Please forgive my sins – the bad choices I have made or for anything that I have done wrong. Help me to listen and learn from you and from your Word, the Bible. I want to follow you and obey you. Thank you for loving me. Amen
KNOW: I can follow Jesus.
TALK ABOUT: What does it mean to follow? What does it mean to follow Jesus?
ASK: Who wants to be your forever friend? Jesus wants to be my forever friend.
MEMORIZE: Ps. 119:105 NIrV – (Hold hands open.)
Your Word – (Hold hands open as above.)
Is like a lamp – (Clap hands.)
That shows me the way. – (Walk in place.)
AND DO: I can follow Jesus by listening to what the Bible says about Him.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
* Play “Follow The Leader.” Talk about how you can follow Jesus or do what Jesus would do.
* Practice following directions by giving your child fun directions to follow such as hop over to your bed, walk like an elephant, etc. Then let your child give you some fun directions. Talk about why it’s important to follow directions, especially God’s directions.