Earlier this week, I shared a statement from my book on the Quotes page, with the promise that a more in-depth blog would be coming later. Well, here it is. If you have spent any time looking at leadership, you've heard comments that focus on what takes place when nobody is around because that is who you really are. While that is true, I want to focus that even further and apply it specifically to the home. Please notice what the title does not say - "leadership in the home." While that thought is a small part of it, there is a much bigger issue at play here that looks at both the people and environment in the home. If you want to learn more, then keep reading...
The seeds of this thought came from a book called Biblical Leadership: Theology for the Everyday Leader. The editors have collected a long list of authors who survey leadership from different books of the Bible (e.g. what Leviticus teaches about leadership - yes, you did read that right). The discussion about the book of Judges caught my attention, of course, because of my book about Gideon. The authors made a summary statement on page 93 that started my thinking: "The book [Judges] demonstrates that Israel increasingly failed to follow God's leadership by failing to pass on the faith within their families." Don't miss that - what you do intentionally or passively in the present shapes the future generationally. As I continued to ponder, the thought below is where I landed, and I want to break that apart further:
"Your home shapes your leadership" - think of this from the perspective of a child. The interactions they have with their parent(s) and their siblings truly shape how they view the world and others. Far too often in the modern, western world, the primacy of the family has taken a deep dive as we abdicate learning to the school house or religious institution. If we want to bring generational change, we do so through our children AND that happens best within the home.
Now, this statement has both positive and negative connotations. If a child has a positive home environment, they see a great example of things they could emulate as an adult. If a child has a negative home environment, they may not know any different and would act in what they perceive as normal. Unless another adult teaches them to learn from those negative experiences, then they are more apt to repeat them in their own lives.
"Just as much as" - these three words seem unimportant but they are absolutely vital to the quote. They link the two major thoughts and show that both environment and people matter in proper instruction. If a person is saying something positive while the environment has become negative due to their actions, well, the words fade away while the actions remain. We - every person within a home - gives to each person and the environment; so, we have to pause and examine the type of contributions we are offering.
For instance, I have told my children to avoid saying certain words - like stupid. Sometimes they listen, and sometimes they do not. But, here's where the importance is - the eyes and ears of my little 2 year old watch and listen to those siblings and then imitate them. Language acquisition comes primarily from mimicking sounds; so, when they say "stupid" and we correct them, he repeats it because he does not understand. By the older children's choice to ignore the language barriers, they have negatively contributed to him and the environment. We have now started using the quote above as foundational in our corrective actions - if we have to address the 2 year old for saying "stupid" (a word he learned from them), then they also receive a consequence (because they taught it to him). Right or wrong, we are wanting them to understand how their words and deeds make deposits or withdrawals that positively or negatively affect the people and environment of the home.
"Your leadership shapes your home" - think of this from the perspective of the parent(s). You cannot abdicate your role of leadership in the home. Your children want your time and effort and love and attention - even correction! If you neglect them by passive action, they will take active steps to find it elsewhere. We, as adults, need to act like adults by intentionally teaching our children the things that we want them to do. It is even more powerful, however, when we show them those things by implementing them in our own lives.
If things are not going as well as we would like in the home, who is to blame. You are! A real leader accepts responsibility for outcomes with which they had influence. If we are honest, it is easier to adopt the "other person is to blame" attitude; yet, that idea does not align with reality. We contribute to the environment that we inhabit. We influence the people and the culture, so our own deposits (positive experiences) and withdrawals (negative experiences) must be owned. Without accepting our part in the problem, we cannot make progress.
So, in conclusion, the home and leadership are interconnected and interrelated. Is there something you need to change in either? If so, then the next step is yours to make...