A New Thing

I like baseball, especially the Kansas City Royals, and it is almost opening day.  A couple of years ago we went to a game and I sat next to a family visiting from Australia. None of them had ever been to a baseball game before. Their friends at the other end of the row had prepared them with some basic information about the sport before the game but, like many things, it’s hard to understand it until you see it. 

I really enjoyed listening to the woman as she figured out why each player was doing what he was doing. She was fascinated with everything – from how many extra balls the umpire keeps in his bag to the men who “ran when it wasn’t their turn” (stolen bases).  Sometimes she and her husband would talk through something until they figured it out and sometimes she would ask a question. She asked me about the hand claps and various chants fans would do. She did not understand the point of the seventh inning stretch. She just sat with her mouth open during the hot dog races but she LOVED the wave.  I love going to baseball games but because I’ve been to so many, I miss some of the little details.

As a leader, I think I’m like this with a lot of things. I just assume everyone understands the little details, but I learned a few things from my seat-neighbor at the ballpark that easily relates whatever ministry or group we’re part of:

  1. Don’t assume every leader understands the finer points.
  2. Invest the time in sharing the details with someone. It will help them learn and you’ll have fun watching them as they begin to understand and put into practice what they’re learning.
  3. There are different ways to share what you know – sometimes you let them figure it out on their own, sometimes you answer their questions, and sometimes you have to give them a few facts up front. The key to leadership development is knowing when is the right time for each method. 

The other important life-lesson I learned is we should never get so settled in anything that we can’t enjoy the wave. 

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