Leadership

What you do when you catch someone doing good: MAKE AN ISSUE OUT OF IT!

Many years ago, when my daughter was in grade school, we were notified from her school that she had gotten caught doing good and was sent to the office to meet with the Principal. I know, read that again. She got caught doing something good and they “wrote her up” and sent her to the principal.

Apparently, a teacher had watched her pick up some garbage, that she had not thrown down, and put it in the garbage can. They wrote her up and sent her packing to the Principal’s office. The Principal beefed her up, encouraged her, thanked her and wrote up the paper-work to send home.

Yes, Lindsey Oaks, had done something good and had gotten caught!

She was deeply impacted. Her parents were deeply impacted.

Life lesson: What do you do when you catch someone doing good? MAKE AN ISSUE OUT OF IT! Say thank you. Send a card. Make a social media post. Blab it. Write it up and tell it.

For many years, our church threw a very tasty Thanksgiving feast for the sanitation workers in our city. We took pans of homemade food and served them while they feasted. We gave away gifts and prizes. We thanked them. We blessed them and prayed blessings on them.

I think the impact is multiplied when we acknowledge and thank people for their “goodness” when we don’t know them.

Mother Theresa told the following story:

One evening we went out, and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible condition. I told the sisters, "You take care of the other three; I will take care of the one who looks worst." So I did for her all that my love could do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand as she said two words only: "Thank you." Then she died.

I could not help but examine my conscience before her. And I asked: What would I say if I were in her place? And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said, "I am hungry, I am dying, I am in pain," or something. But she gave me much more; she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face. Gratitude brings a smile and becomes a gift.

A dying lady caught Mother Theresa doing good.

A dying lady said “thank you” and Mother Theresa was impacted.

After noticing something good they had done, I used to enjoy calling staff members into my office. When they would arrive I would instruct them to shut the door. “Sit down,” I would say. As the seriousness of the moment began to dawn on their psyche, I would look them in the eye and say, “You did a great job today.” Relieved, they would be obviously moved. Other people in their lives often told me the impact that moment had on their friend.

It takes so little effort and the impact is so huge.

I dare you today, catch someone doing good and make an issue out of it!

Gifts are free but maturity is expensive…

The vast majority of humanity lives so far below their potential.  It is because, somewhere, in their past, they stopped growing.

Why do people stop growing?  Because it is expensive.

Buy the truth and sell it not.  Proverbs 23:23

That means truth and growth will cost you something.

Personal growth is not cheap.

Gifts are free but maturity is expensive.

Making up your mind to grow means understanding that it will cost you.  

Expensive things like growth never show up accidentally in our lives.

Personal growth only shows up when we decide to PAY for it.

Taking another class costs you money, time, effort, energy…

Reading a book a week costs you…

An extended prayer time every day costs you…

A date night every week costs…

A close circle of friends costs you…

Being the expert in your field costs you…

Learning a new skill costs…

Taking new risks cost…

Most people, somewhere, in their past, stopped paying the price to continually grow.

If you are going to grow, it will not be cheap. 

There is a price to pay for personal growth.  

With Solomon (the writer of the Biblical Proverbs) I say: 

Pay the price, BUY IT!

(Uhm… There is a price to pay for ignorance too).

Selah, pause and think about that…

Admire Them!

Donald Miller tells the story of a group of his friends deciding to give themselves a standing ovation. Reluctant at first, Miller stood up and began to clap. What happened next was transforming. As he began to clap and look at his close friends around the room, his mind began to find reasons for admiring them. He was moved as he realized how some had overcame incredibly challenging things in their lives.

He began, then, to feel such admiration for them.

Miller describes it as an amazing experience that taught him that sometimes “just deciding to admire someone, causes you to find a reason to admire them.” Every human being has some thing that causes them to be admirable. There is some thing that they have gone through that makes them completely admirable. The fact that they continue to do what they do every day, considering what they have come through, is very admirable.

Sometimes, “just deciding to admire someone, causes you to find a reason to admire them.”

His advice? Just look for something to admire in people and they will sense your admiration. Reject starting with the mindset that they need to earn your admiration. Start with the mindset, “I already admire you.”

Reject starting with the mindset that they need to earn your admiration.

Miller says, "People admire you when you admire them."

Maybe it’s true what the Karate Kid said years ago, “What goes around, comes around.”

Selah, pause and think about that…

Northern Lights: One Woman, Two Teams, and the Football Field That Changed Their Lives

A number of years ago my path crossed the path of an amazing lady, Cathy Parker.

At the time she was a part of a fundraising team in Valdosta Georgia that saw the Boys & Girls Club there funded at remarkable levels. She added her influence to efforts to do the same in Quitman, Georgia and the South Georgia House of Hope.

Her story has been highlighted on ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, CNN…

I had heard of her, sought her out, and asked her for a few minutes of her time. I wanted to know her story. How did she become such a powerful influencer and fundraiser? We instantly became close friends and she has become one of my mentors. Now, her story is chronicled in the upcoming new book and movie, Northern Lights.

Northern Lights is the story of how providence sneaks up on ordinary and everyday people and assigns them tasks that push them beyond their limits to make extra-ordinary impact on their culture.

More than a decade ago, along with sports fans worldwide, Cathy Parker watches an ESPN news highlight of an Alaska town trying to offer a higher path to their struggling youth. Plagued with a high drop out rate of 50%, drug abuse and suicide, Barrow, Alaska attempts to offer football at their only high school. But their attempts are met with hardship as the high school makes do with feeble resources, including a field that Parker describes as "...an unsightly mix of packed dirt, mud, and gravel." The players often received cuts, bruises and sprained ankles from the rocky surface.

Cathy’s story highlights the oft proven reality that, if we will allow it, out of our deepest places of pain often flow our greatest gifts to the world. Her pain revolves around football. In college she married her college sweetheart, Carl, a football player who upon graduation was drafted into the NFL and ended up at the Super Bowl his first year. Through a series of circumstances, the football career that took off so quickly, began to wane. Cathy details the story that leaves her saying, "I grew to resent everything about football."

Northern Lights is the redemptive story of how Cathy Parker's gift to Barrow Alaska flows from her navigation of the pains and disappointments of her past.

This is a story we can all benefit from!

Buy it now!

(I received an advance copy from NetGalley)