Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Not Ready To Go.
I took my daughters, who are now ages 9 and 4, to my mother's house yesterday. They will spend two nights there durring spring break. This is the first time my 4yr old, Ruthie, has stayed overnight like this. We pulled up the drive and my girls ran right up and through the door of Nana's house.
My wife and I went in to visit for a while before leaving. The whole time there my mind kept wandering to think about our youngest daughter spending her first nights away from home. I was stalling. Finally, Ruthie came back into the living room (she had found the Disney Channel on a TV in Nana's room), she grabbed me by the arm and pulled to try and yank me out of my seat. "I'm ready for you to go" she said. My heart sank. Yet, at the same time, I was so proud of her bravery. I honored her request and figured that was the best time to get out without a scene.
During the drive home I was thinking about what Ruthie had said to me. "I'm ready for you to go." But, I wasn't ready. I think deep down I wanted my little girl to cry and ask to come home with me when it was time for me to leave. Ruthie was ready to step up to another level of maturity and, as her daddy, I wasn't ready for that. I should be happy. After all, isn't my job as a parent supposed to be preparing them for that next step in maturity. I guess I should have immediately began to search for that next level to teach her, prepare her for, or challenge her with. So why is it that my eyes fill with tears as I write this?
I think we all do this in some ways. For some of us, it's not wanting our kids to take that next step in maturity or independence. For some people it's for different reasons. Maybe it's a feeling of codependency and needing to be needed. For others, it's a realization that growth and that next level of maturity means you need to let go of some control. And we like to be in control.
This can be evident in many areas of our lives. From the business owner that seems to "hamstring" his business by slowing growth because he knows deep down inside that he'll need to let go of some of the control over details he has with a small operation. Or the growing Christ follower who needs to take that next step in her relationship with Christ, but knows that it means turning over her worries and letting them go to HIM. She wants to worry, even though that won't fix her problems.
Our greatest role as leaders is to help those around us grow. That means that many times, great leaders don't gain more control over the situation around them, instead, they prepare those around them to take control. It's hard at times to let someone else have control over something we're responsible for, but, if we've don a good job as a leader and handed that control over to the right person, it will ultimately help your business, organization, or family, step up to the next level of maturity.