“I don’t know,” says my five-year-old son as we stand over a puddle of Lucky Charm infused milk. This is not a typical response from an otherwise witty and aware child. Five minutes ago, he was confident in his ability to simultaneously carry his two favorite toys, his granola bar wrapper, a cup, and a bowl half-filled with milk to the kitchen. Now, staring down at the milk, he looks confused and disappointed. Most of the time I would attribute this spill to typical five-year-old clumsiness; this time, however, it seems as though he knew no other way to transport his possessions from the kitchen table to the sink. As we work together to clean the spill, I explain to him that next time he should make multiple trips. I tell him it is better to get something done correctly rather than quickly.
A few days later we arrive home from the grocery store with a trunk full of bags. In the irrational rush of life, I do the traditional “I refuse to make two trips” pile on. Inevitably, a bag rips as we are walking up the stairs. In an attempt to save the fallen goods, I lose my balance. While trying to catch myself from falling, I drop every last bag of groceries down the stairs. As I stand there with a confused and disappointed look on my face, my son picks up a bag and tells me, “Dad, next time take more trips. It’s better to do something correctly than quickly.” I’m already embarrassed when my wife walks by and adds, “I wonder who he is learning from.”
In the Fellowship, we learn about “modeling the way” as a fundamental pillar to establishing credibility as a leader. We learn that to effectively model the way, we must first clarify our values and clearly express those values to those around us. Most importantly, we have to set the example by demonstrating those values in our actions every day.
I love my family because they always hold me accountable, which allows me to constantly strive to be a better version of myself. My son taught me an example will be set regardless of your intentions, or lack thereof. Those who follow you will cling more strongly to the values you display in your actions than the values you spill in your rhetoric. I also learned the value of followership. We are all leaders and followers in some capacity. When I assume a follower role, it is important to recognize my duty to hold my leaders accountable, just as my son did in the grocery debacle.
Whether at home or in the workplace, people are watching. With every action we take, we must ask ourselves what we are displaying to the world around us.