On Mission: Learning to Lead
“And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” (Luke 2:40)
Notice this: Jesus also had to grow and develop just like us.
There are verses in the Bible that we tend to read right past without ever considering the implications. This is one of those verses for me. The simple truth that God took on flesh and chose to be born an infant and learned to walk among us is profound!
It hurts my head to think about the fact that Mary and Joseph celebrated many of the same celebrations of development that my wife and I marked as our children grew. We celebrate as parents when we learn to discern a hungry cry from a frustrated cry. We celebrate when our babies lie on their backs and begin to kick their arms and legs. We celebrate when our children learn to roll over. We celebrate when they crawl and start pulling themselves up and cruising along furniture (then we call a time out and child-proof the house for real - not that pretend stuff we thought we had accomplished). We are thrilled with first steps!
It is easy to forget all the steps of development that we have celebrated together as we learn to walk.
Working as a chaplain, walking alongside parents of infants who have spent the first months of their lives in the hospital, changes your perspective of celebrating developmental milestones. Oftentimes, parents are simply hoping each day that their infant will respond to breathing and feeding interventions. Parents cherish any moment they have for fostering attachment through touch, play, or holding their kiddo. These early challenges of learning to breathe and feed mean that most physical development is going to be delayed. It takes an interdisciplinary team of not only physicians and nurses, but also physical, massage, speech, recreational therapists, and child life specialists to foster growth.
When a family gets the great news that they can take their child home, the team teaches parents how to have awareness of their child’s particular health challenges and assess patterns of their child’s development. On occasion, parents with news of going home become exuberant and interact with their infant in a manner that does not match their maturity. They need reminded to properly support their infant’s head or told not to prop their baby up before they have developed the muscle tone and coordination to sit on their own.
In my years of coaching leaders, I find that new leader’s exuberance can lead to “propping up” their influence as a leader without reflecting on their personal journey of self-awareness or assessment of their own development.
If you are new to leading or have been leading for years, build a pattern of daily reflection. Learn to celebrate all the voices in your life that have influenced your growth as a leader. I invite you to take 7 minutes today and celebrate one event that shapes the way you influence others.
Be gracious with yourself and remember Jesus had to grow into His influence just like you and me!