Leadership

Tug o’ Pastor Part 2

(You can read the first post here)

Imagine my delight as my vaguely remembered theory proved correct – knots are stronger! However, I didn’t get to bask for long because the hose broke in a different spot. The recoil sending a 3 lb knot towards the head of a four year old tugging heroically on the front of the hose. Thankfully, it didn’t hit him.

Also thankfully, I didn’t have to decide what to do next because I heard a voice behind me:

“Nathan, let me get a rope from my truck.”

I said: “Sure.” I thought: “Where were you 10 minutes ago, Mr. Helpful?”

Moments later, accompanied by cheers, Mr. Helpful reappeared with a thick braided rope complete with huge metal hooks on each end. Anyone could see it would hold up just fine. It could probably pull a semi out of the ditch. I felt appropriately emasculated standing there holding my hose. But the games must go on.

Slowly, as it turns out. After people fall hard it’s difficult to commit the same way, even if you know the danger is gone. One guy, in a classic dad move, put sunglasses on his daughter in case the rope broke. I am not sure what he thought they would prevent, but you could tell by his face he felt like a more responsible parent for having placed the dollar store sunglasses on her little freckled nose.

No surprise, the rope held together and confidence returned after a few rounds. Then people were right into it. Pulling with all their might and trash talking with words well outside the evangelical thesaurus. Eventually, the winner emerged and no one mentioned anything more about the hose……for three months…in a budget meeting?

We were discussing how to deal with a broken piece of equipment. Replace? Repair? Whose budget lines does it come out of?

Out of the blue, our youth pastor pipes up:

“You know, we could always just tie a knot in it.”

I was confused.

You don’t tie a knot in a projector?

The laughter around the room revealed they were much faster to catch the reference than I was and this meant the story had a staying power I was totally unaware of.

I wasn’t embarrassed. I just felt misunderstood. I felt like they didn’t understand why tying a knot made perfect sense. If I could only explain the context, pressures, and limited options I was facing they would concede my actions were understandable and maybe even laudable.

Specifically, I believed if they could understand it from my perspective they would come to see it was rational to have forty people yank on a garden hose with all their might. They would also admit the knot was a sensible solution given the many factors at play. Finally, they would acknowledge there was plenty of blame to go around. The manufacturers of the hose, our janitors for not throwing out a brittle hose, the dad hoarding rope in his truck, and whomever is to blame for the childhood obesity epidemic in North America.

I started to explain but stopped short when I realised I not only sounded insecure, I also sounded insane. Neither of which is how I hope to appear to the team at PAC.

So I shut up.

This story is helpful in two ways:

  1. It exposes my insecurity.
  2. It reveals how small my skill set actually is.

So it is worth revisiting and learning from since these together create a downward leadership spiral which leaves people writhing and wary.

And so we come to the main themes of this blog….

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