June 6, 2007
"Here, take one of these," said Phil Kay, director of admissions and marketing at Tyndale, as he threw me a couple of small, soft blue footballs. "High school kids love these. We throw them out to students during recruitment assemblies. Your grandsons will love them."
That night our daughter, her husband and two boys—5 and 2—were at our home for supper. "Brycen, after supper you and I can play football. Here is one I brought just for you," I said as I threw him the small, soft blue football. What fun we had.
The next evening as we talked by phone I said, "Brycen, that was fun last night playing football. Let's do it again."
Finally I heard him thoughtfully say, "Papa, next time I'll bring my brown football. Ok?"
"Sure. That's ok. But why a brown football?" I asked.
"Papa, real football players don't play with blue footballs."
When does instinct kick in? I get a little tired of leadership books stocked with "should," "ought" or "must." Who says I "should" do this, I "ought" to respond a particular way or I "must" consider this option?
The fact is that each of us as leaders brings to our calling and assignment a set of human characteristics, personality traits and learned patterns, at times different from others.
So who is right?
Notwithstanding the importance of learning from others—lectures, books or on the job—there is within each of us inherent knowledge. While the nurture/nature debate continues to draw no definitive conclusions, I opt for the importance of learning to lead with intuition.
Creation is marvelous and complex. From it we draw from the reservoir of the imago dei. Be reluctant to allow self-doubt to keep you from mining rich veins from which the raw stuff of life is forged.
If your instinct is that blue footballs aren't for you, I'd say, trust your hunch.
Loving Father, at times I'm nervous to trust what I intuitively feel or what I see at first glance. I've been so wrong before. Yet, help me know that your work began in creation and continues by what your Spirit is doing in and around me today. Being right 100% of the time is not my goal. Obedience is. In this search for doing good as leader, help me trust what you have made and continue to make in this ever-learning calling of faith. Amen.
Real football players don't play with blue footballs.