All I needed to know about Leadership, I learned riding my bike!

Dr. Phil, Dr. Seuss, Dr. Spock, Dr. Dobson who is right? I mean each of them tell me they have figured out the best process for me to raise my children, resolve conflict at work and to share a great life with my wife.

Every magazine I read in the grocery check out line tells me they have a lock on relationships, on personal development, on how to manage my life. I wonder if there really is some formula for how to go about improving my stance with those I love, I manage and meet each day.

Somehow it seems that relationship, information, process, all work together but I am really not sure which one, in what order matters most. However, after looking at a zillion different improvement formulas I have come across one that just seems to make the most sense.

The process goes by the acronym R-CAPS and the letters stand for Relationship, Content, Accountability, Prayer and Structures. The process says that in order to grow myself or others that I must first develop a relationship that fosters trust and safety, then I can introduce content that is specific to what I want to achieve, accountability means to have people in place who care enough to help me stay the course, Prayer is asking God to intervene and sustain me. Finally it is important to have structures or situations in which to prove out and practice what I have learned.

father son bikeAs I think back to situations in which I really grew I see these elements in place. As I remember learning to ride my first bike I remember my dad holding on to the seat holding me up. I knew my dad was not going to let me get hurt, I mean I really trusted him. I also remember him telling me specifics about holding the handle bars in a straight line and remembering to pedal to maintain enough speed in order to not fall over. As I began to get the hang of things dad kept reminding me to “steer straight and keep pedaling” he kept me focused on what was important. Pray-you bet! Dad was asking the Dad of all dads to not let me get hurt. Finally, rather than just tell me about a bike, dad had me on a bike, in a safe place, practicing. When the time came to let go, I was ready and away I went.

Flash forward forty years and it is time for me to mentor a young friend. It seems that spending time with him, learning about him and his interests is the best way for us to develop trust and learn to believe in each other. Sure he wants to learn stuff, but I need to listen well and look for the signs to understand just what it is he really needs to learn. As I pay attention to what he says and observe his life I begin to understand just what content to introduce him to. Giving him information is not worth much unless I hold him to his promise to begin to use it. So much I cannot control, only God can know the depth of our hearts and minds, so I spend time speaking to God to ask for His protection and care for my friend. Finally, and often the hard part, is to find a specific activity that will let him use his new found knowledge.

Think about it. What good is it to learn about building a dog house if we do not actually try it out by building a dog house. By the way, dogs do not live in dog house theories they live in actual dog houses! Kids do not learn to ride a bike by reading a book, they learn to ride bikes by……riding a bike! And adults do not learn to mature and grow by just getting more information. Just like riding a bike, maturity takes practice, accountability and the right structures in which to try out what we are learning.

R-CAPS is a method that just makes sense. What is really cool is that it is a process that is over 2000 years old. It has been used on every continent and every nation in the world. The “process” book is well known and easy to find. The teacher, the most acclaimed “growth coach” the world has ever known. To learn more read about the R-CAPS method and the organization that developed it follow this link to the book MATURITY MATTERS.

Editors Note: We are reposting some of our blogs for you.  David Parfitt originally posted this article in 2011.  We think it is worth re-reading!

adult son leaving homeThis just happened too fast. Yesterday I was changing diapers and today I am buying sheets (extra long) for a dorm bed. My last child leaves in four weeks for college and the dreaded “empty nest” is right around the corner.

While I really don’t know where the time has gone, I do know I am so very grateful for the time I have had with my children at home. Sure, I wish I had done some things differently, made a few better choices, and spent more time with each of my children. I should have listened more and lectured less, and all the rest of the things on my regrets list. But truth be told, we haven’t done too bad. My children are able to think critically, act independently and take responsibility. They make good choices and are both helpful and useful to those around them. They love and respect their mom and even check in with their old dad on a regular basis!

I would like to take credit for this, but know I cannot. The truth is my wife and I chose, even before our first was born, to raise our children according to God’s direction and to share raising them with like-minded friends. We have prayed for them every day, deferred our “rights” to those God believes is right and sought the counsel, and support, of parents who went before us and raised great kids. We see parenting as both a right and a privilege and have worked at it every day. We are not “holy rollers” or “religious extremist” but we have taken to heart the Lord’s direction regarding love, respect, justice, grace, forgiveness, service, truth, work and a host of other life skills He teaches in His book, the Bible. Old fashioned? I don’t think so. Structured, balanced, honest, caring, trustful, fun and responsible–you bet! Proverbs 15:33 tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and that humility comes before honor. It’s a verse we have tried to live by.

Advice, I guess I have a little, but most of all I would say to just love people like Jesus did. Take the time to learn His leadership model and concepts and then just apply them to your life. The model is not complex, it goes like this: Spend the time to develop real relationships, share real world life skills, talk about ideas and concepts, hold those you love accountable for living what they have learned, pray (a lot), and finally, find situations for your kids to practice what they are learning.

Too often we talk about issues, concepts and ideas without a practical means of letting our kids try them out. Put them in the position to use their knowledge then spend your time catching them doing things right! Praise often, correct when needed, and continuously remind them of their incredible value and worth. Be a parent—every day.

I am not looking forward to the drive home after dropping my son off this fall. My heart is sad just thinking about it. I know he is excited, I know he is able, and I know he is ready. He, like his sister, will make a difference with his life. I say this with confidence because of the knowledge of his relationship with Christ. He knows the truth and he knows how to live truth. However, I will miss having him around. I have come to value his opinion and to enjoy his sense of humor and cutting the grass is going to take a whole lot longer. I remember the same sense of loss dropping my daughter off three years ago. But, it’s not about me…it never was. It is their time to grow and shine, and my time to cheer them on!

The issue is really all about maturity. Growing our children (and ourselves) is the goal and there is a plan that works! If you would like to learn more about parenting according to Jesus Christ’s model of leadership (we call it RCAPS: Relationship, Content, Accountability, Prayer, and Situations or Structures) click here.

I welcome your comments about releasing your children. Please comment below and share your experience, challenges and advice.

 

Originally Posted on JULY 16, 2012.  This was so good we thought it would be good to read again!

Come as you are

I received yet another email this past week pointing out the mounting statistics that show church attendance continues to slip. This particular email pointed out that more than 65% of people in my home county claim an affinity to “the church” (adherents), that 46% of those interviewed claim membership to a particular church but less than 20% actually go to church. As I pondered those numbers three questions came to mind.

empty pewWhat have we “the church” done to drive people away?

What has the world done to draw people away?

What do we do to overcome points one and two above in order to welcome people back?

While I don’t want to over simplify the issue, it seems the gap continues to grow between those who understand “church” and those who don’t. It is becoming more complicated all the time; we “the church” have developed our own language, social norms, and even dress code for almost every different church in town. In fact it took me a while to understand the email I received, as I had to look up the term “adherents”.

 

Adherent-(ad·her·ent adˈhi(ə)rənt,-ˈher-/noun) plural noun: adherents

  1. someone who supports a particular party, person, or set of ideas

 

I can only imagine how off putting it must seem to someone who has no knowledge or association with what “the church” is or is supposed to be.  And, for the record, that now amounts to more than half the country if the statistics are correct.

Jeff Christopherson, in his recent book “The Kingdom Matrix” puts it like this:

“The essential distinguishing issue in this new evangelical culture is not the character of our hearts, but the vocabulary of our expression. Our subculture has developed universally understood code words that offer indisputable evidence of our club status….. They are found in our evangelical glossaries and come glibly off our lips; fellowship, brother, born-again, and membership indicate our club-status within the subculture.”

It seems to me we need to make “the church” more accessible.  When did it become important for religion to become complicated? My Bible clearly shows that Jesus spoke plain language and a good bit of his talking was done with folks who did not have a grasp on what the “the church” was all about.

Perhaps a simpler approach is in order.

Come As You Are“Come as you are”—With what you know, how you are dressed, without all the answers, without all the lingo. Come because we care about you, come learn about the One who created you and loves you, come because you are valuable, come because you are going to be met just where you are–and helped to take the next step. Come to a place that is not perfect and wants imperfect people. Come!

I shared these thoughts with a friend of mine. Bob knows a lot about the church, about Jesus, and thankfully, a lot about me. He has attended seminary, preached a lot and has written forty or fifty some publications regarding Jesus and his teachings.  His message back confirmed my thoughts-but he also says so much more.

David, what you described is The Gospel.  It’s The Message about Jesus.  He’s The Sent One who dwelt among us and was full of grace and truth.  When we neglect teaching EVERYTHING He commanded, we neglect Him and His Message, and we end up corrupting His Message.  People do this, at least initially, without intentionally meaning to.  We make it about conforming to OUR image and OUR likeness, or, as Paul said, we hold on to “a righteousness of our OWN that’s derived from The Law.”  It’s a poor likeness, but close enough to trick immature or unadvised people. But instead of glorifying God, it insults and demeans His Name.

Just as I expected he would, Bob spoke right to my heart. Powerful words, words to remind me and to help center me…words of encouragement, and words admonishing me to continue the good work placed before me.

And maybe they are words of encouragement for you too.

Come.

Please come!

How Emotional Problems Develop Jack Larson

How Emotional Problems Develop Jack LarsonAs I begin my fourth year of leading men to learn how to identify and grieve past pains, I was asked this week if the group really mattered because “after all people eventually leave you and in reality we are all alone in this world.”

It is interesting to me how we learn about our world and how people behave. What we learn certainly affects what we believe and how we act! The truth is we believe what we have been taught and we cannot change the way we act until we change what we believe.

My friend Jack Larson reminds me that if we have a proper understanding of our self, our purpose and our world that we can achieve far more than we can even imagine.

In his book “How Emotional Problems Develop” Jack reminds us:

    God has put in all of us a sense, an inward feeling, that we were created for something better, greater and grander than we now experience. He has “set eternity in the hearts of all men.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) We sense this because it is true. We were created for something better. God created us in His image (Genesis 1:26,27), and created us a little lower than Himself and crowned us with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5). 

   But we also know that our lives fall short of this glory and honor, and we long for something better. Of course, we will experience the completion of what we were created to be only in eternity. But we can also receive more fulfillment in this life. Jesus calls this fulfilled life, the abundant life (John 10:10). To experience this fuller, better life we must become disciples of Christ. We must set our hearts to follow Him fully and to put off the things that trap and entangle us in this world.

Emotional problems cause us to believe things about ourselves that are just not true. The key to moving past those “hindrances” is to first learn more about where and how they originate.

Worldwide Discipleship Association, Inc is offering readers a free E-Book copy of Jack’s book, “How Emotional Problems Develop.” In it you will learn how our past creates our view (clear or distorted) about the world in which we live. You will also learn how to begin to shed untruths and a process that can lead to emotional healing. I would love to hear your comments about the book. If you would like to hear more about WDA’s Restorative Ministry visit us at:  http://www.disciplebuilding.org/ministries/restorative-ministry/

The truth is, not all people leave, and we are not in the world all alone. However, until my new friend learns the truth he will always react from a position of abandonment. Learning from, and moving beyond, our past is something we can all benefit from. I am working on my issues! I invite you to begin as well.

“Run Forest Run”- That often seems the best advice on how many managers, parents and friends manage conflict. But is avoiding conflict really the best way to manage it?

When we avoid or run from conflict rarely do we see it go away. Sure it might go away for a while, but all to often, it rears it’s ugly head again and often, while at rest, the beast grows even larger!

What if we took the time to understand conflict for what it really is and learned to manage the process of how to resolve it? For example let’s begin with the premise that not only is conflict normal but it is even profitable! 

A wise supervisor once told me if we all thought the exact same thing that the company would only need one of us. Each of us brings a unique point of view, skill set and perspective to any situation. That is what makes us valuable and it is also what is the root of conflict-differences. The issue is not whether we have differing points of view but rather how we manage our emotions and ego through the process.

This makes sense at a core level, however managing, and profiting from conflict is not so easy to do! The key in handling conflict is to be prepared before you enter the fray. There are lots of books on the subject, anger management classes and web sites devoted to the topic. How do you choose?

Well if you believe in God, it might be a good idea to understand how the creator of the universe, the One who invented emotions, the Alpha and Omega of human development and understanding designed a process for us to be both unique and to live together in peace.

Worldwide Discipleship Association, Inc has discovered nine key Biblical principles, drawn from scripture, which provide key understandings and methods for resolving conflict.

For example have you read about how Paul taught the Philippians to work at developing agreement, not just being agreeable?

Or how we can receive correction without it damaging our self-image?

These and other key methods are covered in “Developing Healthy Relationships” one of several key leadership skill trainings found at disciplebuilding.org.

My mother used to tell my brother and sister and I to “fight nice”! As I continue to study and grow I find that conflict is not to be avoided. Wade right in. Learn something in the process but understand that it is a process and equip yourself how to do it well.