Thursday, November 15, 2018

Leadership

What makes someone a good leader? 

That's a loaded question, right?  It depends on the situation.  The type of leader needed in a combat situation seems different that the type of leader needed in a kindergarten classroom. 

I read and think a lot about leadership.  The topic fascinates me. I want to be a good leader. I want my boys to be leaders.  I also want to honor my personality in the process. I never what to try to be someone I'm not in order to be seen as a leader.  Which is different from learning and growing. 

See? It's complicated.  It's loaded. 

I think there are 4 things that are essential to all leaders, no matter the situation.  And they're all connected.  I think of them like a big circle.

1. Be Real - Be yourself while learning and growing.  Be honest.  Own your faults. Embrace your quirks.  Be genuine. 

2. Build Relationships - If you can't connect with people, you can't lead them.  Take the time to get to know people. What are their hopes and dreams? What scares them? What's important to them outside work or the context you know them in? This is easier if you're real because they'll get to know you too. 

3. Communicate Clearly & Effectively - Mean what you say and say what you mean.  Hard conversations are hard.  But when you're the leader you have to have them from time to time.  But guess what, if you've been real and built relationships, it's easier to have those hard conversations because people know they can trust you. 

4. Be Self Reflective - Take time each day to think about your interactions with people and the work you did that day. Did things go the way you thought they would?  Are you proud of how you handled things? What areas do you need to improve on?  Reflecting will help you become more self aware and that will help with the other 3.

What do you think?  What are the essentials for leaders?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Heart

Society talks a lot about heart. 

"Follow Your Heart"

"That Shows Heart"

"Play with Heart"

Often times Christians talk about the heart of God. 

What does all that even mean?  Heart is another squishy subject.  It means the different things to different people.  Here's one of the things that the Bible says about the heart...

https://goo.gl/XtoJyh
So, what should we do?  Should we follow a deceitful heart?  How do we know the heart of God? 

If 'heart' is squishy we need to look at some facts.  Where do we find the facts of God?  The Bible!

Alrighty, there's a bunch of stuff in the Bible.  In the Old Testament especially, there are a bunch of rules to follow.  A bunch of rules that God told His people to follow.  I'm a rules follower but I can't even keep up with all that.  But we know that some people worked hard to bring those rules into the New Testament.  They're called the pharisees.  I think I might have been a good pharisee since I'm so fond of rules. 

In Matthew 22 Jesus is talking to the Sadducees about the resurrection and shuts them down.  Then the Pharisees come around and try to trip Jesus up by asking Him about the greatest command of the Law.  Jesus' answer is my foundation.  It's my theology.  To me, it's the heart of God.  If I can do these two things, I'm good. 






Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Acceptable

How many times a day do you say or think "that's not acceptable"?  I feel like I say and think it a million times a day. I do, after all, work in a middle school.  And I have 3 boys.  And I work with special needs kids who need help to understand boundaries.  I also check facebook and twitter each day. There's a lot of thinking "that is not acceptable" when I scroll through those feeds.

It appears that I have a different idea of what acceptable than those around me.  With the kids, I'm ok with it because they are learning.  With grownups, it's a little more frustrating because I think they should know better. I try to remember that everyone is (or should be) learning and growing everyday. 

If I'm being really real, I have to admit that I do unacceptable things all the time.  I buy things I shouldn't.  I get my nails done when I could probably spend that money more effectively.  Just today I ate a Kit Kat for lunch.  I'm a grown woman, that is not an acceptable healthy lunch.  Of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  I'll spare you the rest.

B struggles with what's acceptable and what's not.  An ongoing issue are his manners. Specifically to do with burping and saying excuse me.  He does not understand the need to try to suppress a burp, cover his mouth or say excuse me when he burps.  We've tried to explain to him that it's rude.  Again, rude is a squishy vague concept that escapes him.  We've tried to tell him that no one wants to hear him burp.  He really doesn't get that.  He's still the center of his universe so the idea that someone is not interested in him is so foreign. We're still working...

I'm studying Genesis right now and the story of Cain and Abel. The problem between the brothers started because Cain's offering was not acceptable to God.  Our offerings to God should be our 'first fruits', the first part of what we have and not the left overs.  The Bible doesn't explicitly say that Cain didn't bring his first fruits but it does say "fruit of the ground". I always assumed that meant that the fruit had fallen off the tree, Cain picked it up off the ground and brought it to God. 

Then in Hebrews 11, verse 4, the Bible says that by faith Abel offered God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain's. So, faith plays a part of what is an acceptable sacrifice to God.  The complete trust that something is acceptable to God makes it acceptable to Him.

I love the Old Testament and it makes me so thankful.  All through the Old Testament we see people trying to uphold the law and be acceptable to God.  It seems so exhausting.  Sometimes I get tired just reading it.  I am so thankful for Jesus. Through His life and death, my faith in Him makes me acceptable to God.  No matter what I've done. No matter what I do.  My faith makes me acceptable to God.  

Even if I eat a Kit Kat for lunch. Even if I loudly burp in public.  


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Clean Up

Listen, we're all weird. Every single person. It's like a continuum - some of us are a lot weird, some of us are just a little weird.  And lets face it, you're here because I'm weird.  You like to read about my weirdness.  It's ok, I love that about you. I also love my weirdness.  So, I'm fully aware of how weird this post is...

One of my many weirdnesses is that I don't buy cereal for the boys during the school year.  You have to have protein in their bellies when they get to school.  Cereal is for the summer.  I don't even buy it for a 'snack' during the school year because my protein plan will go out the door. I know these people, I raised these sneaky little peeps. 

I also try to go to the grocery store alone, it costs less money.  Last week, Ryan, B & I went to the grocery store.  B wanted cereal and I said no. We spent the entire rest of the trip discussing why I don't buy cereal during the school year.  It was exhausting, actually.  The dude just does not like taking no for an answer. 

Tuesday afternoon I had to take B with me to the grocery store again.  No one was happy about this. B wanted me to take him home then go.  But I wanted to go and get home and get in my pajamas.  So, I told him he could pick something at the store.  Zac had dental work done that day and wanted spaghetti-os. I was hoping I could convince B to get a can too.   You know where this is going, right?

I had to buy Trix cereal.

Whatever, I bought the dang cereal.  Let's just go home.  We did.  I was changing clothes and hear a large thud.  B comes into my bathroom "I need you in the kitchen right away".  Not a whole lot of urgency. 

I came into the kitchen to find a gallon of milk on it's side, a big mess of milk on the floor and B watching a YouTube video.  "I was trying to get milk for my cereal and then dropped it trying to get it back into the fridge." 

Alright dude, let's clean it up.  Job one: pick up the milk. 

B started freaking out.  Here's where I would normally stepped in and cleaned it up.  But I resisted.  I explained to B how to clean the mess.  At first I stood back and coached him on how to clean up the mess.  He was not happy.  The paper towels were yucky.  But he persisted. 

I did end up helping but he did most of the work. I mopped up afterwards.  He even cleaned off the trashcan. 

So, that's another weird thing for me.  I was so happy to listen to him complain about cleaning up his own mess.  Another random milestone that he's meeting better late than never!