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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

See with your ears, hear with your eyes

How do we really make a difference in someones life? What kind of difference do we want to make? Why do we want to make the difference? These are questions that should be answered when we start down the trail of life changing efforts. I have found that it is not that important to have the right answer. It is very important to have the right question! When someone answers our questions we need to see their life's perspectives in their words and hear the non-verbal comments with our eyes! This is an art!

I think we call this art, caring. I also think that many of us have become calloused or blind to whats is truly being answered. When we look at Christ's teaching style we will find a lot of questions or stories that create questions. I also see that Christ saw the hurt and pain in people as they answered him. In the picture above one of the Edge Foundation's Team Leaders spends time hearing a students answers to the constant question of " where am I going." Questions we ask students are "where do you want to go?", "where are you at?", "Why are you where your at?", "What is it you looking for?" There are times when only one staff member really knows where the group is going. This allows for more connectedness and true problem solving to take place between team leaders and the team. I find that the answers to questions are not so patented or freely given and discovery is given a chance.

Every once in awhile I find myself discovering something new and life changing for me from the students. I think leaders enter into situations with a preconceived idea that they are required to have all the answers, and we know this is simply not possible. Answers are only accurate to certain perspectives. What is right for me may not be right for you. All paths do not travel the same topography, but the ideal paths all should lead us to the same basic positive, productive and spiritual destination. Some paths are thrilling at first but soon become addictive and destructive. Those who travel such paths at some point find themselves lost in a forest of fear and deceit. I have found that those on such paths are screaming for someone to recognize their burdens and lend a hand. As a leader we need to account for this variance in travel paths, but often we expect everyone to take the trail we travel and base all of our answers off of our limited knowledge and experience our own trail has taught us. A CEO with a Harvard degree may not understand the perils of growing up in a drug and gang infested neighborhood were excelling in life simple means staying alive.

I call the willingness to hear and see someone else's answers "bridging the gap." Let me try and see life through your heart and learn from your experiences. Your answer may be more true than mine. Weak leaders who act strong tend to build barriers that prevent bridging because they are not ready to admit they may not have an answer. However, we need to remember that the right answer is not important. The right questions are the key to discovery. I believe that no matter what trail we are on, we all have the same basic questions. Am I safe, am I loved, am I needed, am I valued, am I accepted, can I help are important questions to us all. I have discovered that Christ answered these often in a very unique way. The answer to my question about helping was simply value everyone in love, accept those who need, look out for the safety of those who are scared and weak, treat everyone as if they were as wounded and tired from the journey as I.

The greatest treasures of life are concealed in the struggle of discovery. Leadership is not about knowing, it is about living. Living to our fullest. Living for something bigger then us. Living for a life full of adventure and discovery in every place we dare travel. Lead me to discover that I am a good and valued person in a world full of hateful, fearful and valueless trails!


Anonymous said...

For some of the leaders, when the stress gets high and the "life" questions beat us into a daze, it is always good to have a pinch between the cheak and gum. Right TB?

Talking Bear said...

LOL, Amen to that!!

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