Leadership is Coming Up

As older minds and hearts are looking around and wondering where the future leadership is coming from, I can attest that it is there. All around in the United States, we see: Black Lives Matter, Antifa, CRT (Critical Race Theory), and the mayhem at our border and overseas. It is natural to say things like “What are our kids gonna do?”, “How will our children survive this world?”. Well, two things, first is your parent’s generation said the same thing about you. Second, I saw it this weekend – leadership is alive.

My son is new to the Boy Scouts in Southern California. I am what you might call a 50% parent. I go to some of the meetings and make a few of the outings, but I also want to give my son the space to be himself in my absence. This weekend was a camping/mountain bike trip. This was a great opportunity to get out with the kids and enjoy a passion of my own in the process. Plus it was a new venue for me and I love hitting new trails. I should also mention that this particular group of young men are not mountain bikers. So right off the start an observer would see:

  • Differing age and maturity
  • Differing levels of fitness
  • Substandard equipment
  • Misaligned personality and communication styles

They nailed it. Furthermore – if I were to examine this dynamic from the perspective of John C. Maxwell’s book – the 360 Degree Leader – I would mark tons of parallels into how each young man filled his role. From ages twelve to eighteen, each divided cheerfully into a carpool vehicle for the ride to camp after assisting in packing said vehicles. Upon arrival at camp, the vehicles were unpacked, bikes staged, and members changed into MTB (Mountain Bike) gear. A short plan was discussed about the format of the group and off we went.

Some kids rode well, and others struggled to understand the gearing or the plowing the bike would do through sand. We were in a wooded hills, but sand covered trail area. That is to say that there was a lot of hard packed trails, overlaid with a few inches of silt or sand. It can be a challenge in some areas. One of the leaders was familiar enough with the location to point out a miner’s cabin and an old gold mine. He was also suffering a little altitude sickness with exercise. So the larger group split into two.

One group with two adult leaders went the fire road back to camp, the second group with two adult leaders went the scenic route over a trail called “John Bull”. This trail was a rugged 4WD Jeep type of trail. There was a fair amount of climb and a bit of vigilance required on the descents. I had a blast. Added to the challenge of the terrain, there was an active Red Bull Adventure Ride on that route (i.e. lots of motorcycles) and a Jeep Group exploring the trails.

A lot of the ascending trail became “Hike a Bike” sections and the tour of John Bull was growing in terms of second hand sweeps around a clock. I could see the guys were losing steam and one actually fell cutting his knee open. We rested, ate granola bars, hydrated and cleaned a knee – then finished the trail. The whole time this is going on, I am registering things in my head about how well the group is dealing with leadership issues.

  • Compassion for each other
  • Recognition of challenge without being demeaning
  • Assisting with a good heart and not reluctance
  • Patience for the less capable
  • Vigilance for others as well as self

Once back to camp, the boys (young men) set up their camp areas and prepared their food. A couple of the adults may have closed their eyes for a spell, but then the boys began to play football. Later, the boys all gathered to play cards and talk about their day – most of them also daydreaming out loud about coming back to this location with a motorcycle.

The next morning, Sunday, I let the camp get packed up then led a super-quick session on prayer and leadership. I turned to my trusty devotional from John C. Maxwell and read the piece from June 27th. I had one of the boys pray, then read the piece from Proverbs followed by John’s commentary on how that verse relays to leadership. We held a discussion about leadership, and how I had noticed their positive signs of leadership on the trip. When I asked questions about leadership, they responded well and with sound thought. We finished in prayer, and I felt fulfilled as they not only displayed leadership in the field – but held the capacity to recognize it.

When I speak to young people, I am always clear to communicate who much I believe in each of them to lead to their capacity. We are all called to lead at some point. Lead a family, lead in school, lead on the scout trip, run a company.

I saw it this weekend – leadership is alive.