When my 3 year old, Miles, first heard the phrase, “I’m the boss,” he took took to it like a fish in water. Nary a correction on the part of my husband or myself could deter him from his newfound roll: the boss.
“Mommy and Daddy are the boss,” we’d say.
“I be a boss, too?”
“No, buddy. Not until you’re bigger.”
“I bigger now? I be a boss!!”
“No, buddy. Not yet.”
Then would come the tears.
So, we tried something else.
“You know buddy, ultimately God is the boss, even of mommy and daddy.”
“Oh! God wants me to be a boss, too.”
Should have seen that coming. Obviously, my son takes after every other human since Adam and Eve. Go figure.
So, we tried something else.
We replaced the word “boss” with the word “leader”. It was a hit!
“I be a leader, Mommy?”
“You sure can be, buddy.”
“I not have to be bigger?”
“Nope, you can be a leader now”
“Mommy and Daddy be a leader, too?”
“Yep, Mommy and Daddy are leaders too. We all lead different things.”
“Oh right. Goodie, Mommy! I be a leader!”
That night, after putting our 3 year old leader to bed, Joe and I needed to talk out a little further what exactly we wanted to teach Miles about being a leader. I turned to my husband, who has devoured every leadership book on the planet and asked, “Babe, what are 3 simple things we can teach Miles about being a leader?”
His response, born in the heart of a John Maxwell loving, leadership junky, made me laugh for a good 15 minutes. He said, in all seriousness:
“Well, there are 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership…”. (referring to John Maxwell’s best seller).
“I think we need to break it down a little bit for our 3 year old, don’t you think?”
“Ok, Law Number 1 is the Law of the Lid.”
“The Law of the Lid refers to the fact that you can only lead others as far as you have been lead.”
“Babe, he’s 3.”
We went back and forth for a while, with several drafts, but eventually came up with the first 3 things we wanted our little leader to learn. This week, we set about teaching our new leadership curriculum.
Day One: A Leader is a Helper
At first, we wanted to use the word “servant” but thought he may not understand it as clearly as he would “helper”. Good Bible stories to go with this lesson are the Good Samaritan or the story of Jesus washing the Disciples feet. Miles loved having a simple phrase he could repeat back to us. We’d say, “A leader is a…” and he’d say “helper!!”. Throughout the day, we’d talk about ways he could be a leader and help others. He loved making his poster and the fact that we traced and cut out his hands to show that he was the leader in the picture.
Day Two: A Leader is a Listener
The gist of what we want Miles to get from this is that a leader must first listen well before he acts. He needs to listen for the movement of God and he needs to listen to wise counsel of others. He also needs to listen to those he wishes to lead….but all that is getting ahead of ourselves, so we stuck with a leader is a listener. A good Bible story of a leader not listening is Jonah being swallowed by a whale. Miles liked making this poster because I traced his ears before we cut them out and glued them to the picture.
Day Three: A Leader Makes Good Decisions
At first, we were going to just simply state “a leader makes decisions,” because in truth not every decision a leader makes is good. But we are at a stage with Miles where we are teaching him the difference between good decisions and bad ones and the intent of every leader is to make the best decision possible. For this Bible lesson, we went back to the story of Jonah and talked about what better decision he could have made.
We hung the posters up in Miles’ room. He loves them and understood the concepts fairly well.
I love leading my little leader:). And I’m grateful the b-o-s-s word is out of our house.