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 completely get you off track, because they haven’t learned the way to go themselves. 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 – your kids, a student in your classroom, a neighbor or who knows who, but someone is watching you and learning from what you do. The question then arises, “What makes a good leader?” That question could be answered in a myriad of ways depending on what it is you want to be learn or follow. Do you want to learn how to cook healthier meals? Then follow someone who has had some experience with cooking healthy meals. Do you want to know more about car repairs or home decorating or jazz music? Then seek someone out who knows about those things. You-Tube and the internet in general abounds with instructional videos – some good and some not so good. You will know as you watch. Watch carefully!
However, we are talking about leading here not following, right? So how do I become a good leader? How can I lead people well and not get off track or muddle along losing traction? It goes back to following. If you want to be a good leader, find someone who is a good leader and follow them. That is no easy task, because, as was already stated, there is a wealth of information out there, some information is very good and some is quite questionable. Sorting out the difference between the two can be difficult. Some leaders are helpful and some will lead you down the wrong path.A lot of voices vie for our attention, a lot of things call us to follow, “Follow me on Twitter” or “Instagram.” “Follow me on Tik Tok.” It’s really important to choose well when you are looking to follow someone or something because you will become like those you follow and you will lead others to go 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 He could say that because He was following Jesus. If you want to lead well and follow well, be sure, above all else, that 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 attention to how closely I am following you. It’s so easy to get sidetracked or distracted by all the other voices in the 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 they are young. What is your child listening to and watching? What does he/she devote 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.
* Affirm your child’s values of honesty, kindness and integrity. Teach them to be courageous and stand up for their values – this is the beginning of leadership to be able to say, “No!” to someone who is asking us to go against our values. If your child learns to say, “No!” other kids may be inspired by your child’s courageous stand.
* Allow them 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 what is a bad or not so good choice. Allowing them to experience simple, safe consequences for their actions, can help them begin to understand when a not-so-good choice is made and role-playing or talking about good and bad choices can also be helpful.
* Give them responsibility. This gives them a chance to learn discipline and also a chance to lead. Making your child responsible for simple chores such as caring for his or her pet, putting his or 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.
SHARE A STORY: Jesus Calls Follow Me – 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. 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 or helpers 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 all the time. He wants you to love others like He loves.
How can you follow Jesus? You can ask Him to be your friend and to forgive you for any wrong things you’ve done or any wrong choices you’ve made. You can give Him your love and you can listen and learn from the Bible. Don’t forget you can also talk to Him everyday. Jesus will help you follow Him because He loves you and wants to be your friend all the time wherever you go.
Dear Jesus, I want you to be my friend all the time. Please forgive me when I make bad choices or forget to listen and love you. Forgive me for anything I do that does not honor you. Help me to listen and learn from you everyday. I want to follow you and do the things you do. I want to be quick to say, “Yes!“ to you. Thank you for loving me. Amen
MEMORIZE: Matt. 4:19 ERV – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
“Jesus said” – (Sign for Jesus – touch fingers to palm of other hand and vice versa.)
“Come,” – (Beckon with hands.)
“Follow” – (Walk in place.)
“Me,“ – (Point upwards.)
KNOW: I can follow Jesus.
TALK ABOUT: What does it mean to follow? To follow Jesus?
ASK: Who wants to be your friend all the time? Jesus wants to be my friend all the time.
AND DO: I can follow Jesus by loving and listening to 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.