One child would be in front and the rest behind. Our call was to follow whoever was dubbed the leader and do everything that they did. Inevitably the leaders ranged in ability on 3 levels.
First, there was the kid who was usually the youngest, smallest and as athletic as a dead cricket floating in your pool. When he was in front, the rest of us knew that the experience would be less than exhilarating, teetering on boring. Although he would try to make our journey exciting, and challenging, he usually fell into repeating the same moves and following the same path through the woods that was safe and uneventful. Needless to say, we could follow this kid in our sleep… and most of us did.
On the opposite extreme was the kid who spent half his day in school the other half winning triathlons in his age bracket. This was the kid who took our ragtag group through thorn bushes, under the floorboards of abandon houses and over the edge of a 25 foot, garbage dump embankment in full sprint, without breaking a sweat. When he was in front, we knew that our scraggly bodies were about to get the whooping of their lives. And when he lead, nobody wanted either to follow or to even try because his standard was so out of reach for us that Adrianne Peterson would have a hard time keeping up.
Then there was the kid who got it. He understood the complexities of having people follow and imitate his every movement. He knew when to break into a dead sprint and when to slow up the pace. He knew how far he could push the rest of us physically without anyone losing their breath or their lunch at the same time. He motivated us to be better than we normally were. He led us into the dark places of the forest that we normally wouldn’t go, all the while calling back over his shoulder, “Come one! You can do it! I’ve done this a million times and I won’t leave you!” With this kid in front, the game was challenging and enjoyable, all at the same time.
Whether you’ve played the game or not, one thing is clearly obvious… the joy and excitement of the game depends fully the one we are following.
What kind of leader are you? Do you run too far in front and wonder why no one follows your leading. Do you feel as if your team could be doing more but don’t know how to take them to the next level? Be the leader who understands the team’s strengths and shortcoming’s, adapts their leadership style to fit them and always pushes a few steps ahead. If you do, then your team and you will achieve greatness.
Personally, always follow our Master leader whose model was one of strength, kindness, love and sacrifice and you’re bound to live a life of purpose! (Mark 1:14-20)