Lessons of a Little Leader
… And a little child will lead them (Isaiah 11:6 NIV).
I know a leader. Her name?
She’s our grand-girl.
Okay, so we love her, that’s true. But more than this, she teaches us, and her lessons are simply too good to keep to ourselves.
Only three, she’s unaware of her prowess–her powerful way of hitting home truths that, dare I say, might never be learned but, rather, hindered by higher education, especially if it’s secular.
Her lessons are those that come from the childlike faith which, sad as it is, so many of us lose when encumbered by the hardships of life.
(Oh, I pray it’s not so with her.)
In keeping with my precious grand-girl, I, too, shall try and make this simple. After all, many of us know the sweetest lessons in life are those collected prior to the constraints of age, when we’re concerned more about what others think rather than merely delighting in each day.
So, without further ado…
Lesson #1–Sing Songs
And better yet, sing songs about Jesus.
Lila loves to sing. Often, she tells me, “I sing myself, Mora,” and I, of course, fall silent to her solo, stifling giggles when my grand-girl mixes and matches lyrics, like–
Ol’ McFarmer had a dog and Rocky was his name-o…
And Rocky was his name-o!
But Lila’s favorite songs are Jesus Loves Me and Jesus Tender Shepherd. When we tuck her in to bed, having the blessing of an occasional sleepover, she points to the picture on the wall, right over her headboard–
“That Jesus?” she asks, and we tell her it is.
“He loves you so,” I say, and she snuggles deeper in her covers.
Then we sing. Sometimes Lila joins us, and other times she listens, eyes closed, a slight smile on her sleepy face.
When she sings along, I love how, even if she doesn’t fully understand what Mary Duncan’s words mean–
Through the darkness, be thou near her... (Jesus Tender Shepherd, public domain).
… She sings them from memory, just the same, seemingly at peace, and I don’t doubt, at least for now, Lila Grace understands the light of Jesus’s love.
It’s something I, too, should remember. Singing can bring peace…
And singing songs about Jesus? Such serves as a ladder out of despair, out of darkness.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you (Psalm 5:11).
Lesson #2–Let the Drippings Run Down
Whether it’s watermelon, a ripe strawberry, or a popsicle, Lila cares little about being covered in sticky. In fact, the stickier, the better.
Attacking whatever yummy food she’s handed, Lila’s not concerned with being dainty, nor about impressing others. She simply enjoys eating.
Okay, I know manners and social etiquette are important, at least to some varying degree, but remember–Lila’s three.
She’ll learn these in time, no doubt.
I’m not worried in the least that she’ll attack her wedding reception chicken breast with the same vim and vigor as, for example, that bowl of vanilla ice cream she’ll get at Papaw’s and Mora’s.
Let’s just say that, like the marital bliss of smashing a slice of that 3-tiered wedding cake in the groom’s or bride’s face, for everything there’s a season.
And my guess, given what Lila knows as a preschooler, she’ll have had some great practice when that day finally comes. For now, however, her uninhibited joy–with food, not to mention countless other things–serves to remind me…
I, too, can live with reckless abandon, finding joy in simple things. Yes, even messy things, that I might…
… taste and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8a).
Lesson #3–Dance at the Drop of a Hat
Lila loves to dance!
Most folks do, even if we don’t admit it.
Simply the toe-tappin’ sort most staunch anti-boogie brothers or sisters can compromise on, we feel it comin’–creeping through our veins–and we just can’t help ourselves.
Maybe God made us that way, wired us with the innate need to move–to music turned up loud or a melody in our hearts.
From the time Lila was very little, less than a year even, she loved to dance. Whether wiggling her little bottom or bouncing on tiny feet, she moved.
Around our living room she’d go, twisting and turning, spinning and swaying. She’d bring a smile, that Lila–a laugh too! I simply couldn’t help myself.
There was nothing provocative about it. Nothing inappropriate. It came from a place within her that appreciated music–its tempo, its rhythm, its sound.
Even now, with a handful of years under her belt, she’ll sometimes get a bee in her bonnet. Dropping everything–no matter where we are–Lila invites me, too, to dance.
“Mora,” she’ll say, “let’s you, me, and sissy do Ring Around the Rosie.“
Despite my disdain for what wisdom-with-age has taught me regarding this song’s original meaning, I know Lila doesn’t know.
And so, there we are–sometimes in the Dollar General aisle–holding hands and walking in a circle until…
We all fall down!
And we do… and we laugh… and it’s wonderful.
I just can’t deny that dancing’s good for the soul, no matter what some might say.
Better yet–it’s best when done with a child, whose innocence hasn’t been hindered by the expectations of the world, hijacked by lusts of the flesh.
Oh, to be like Lila, as well as one called “after God’s own heart“–
Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might… (2 Samuel 6:14).
Indeed, these are some of the lessons we’ve learned from a little leader named Lila. I pray, day by day, she grows to be more like the Leader about whom Isaiah prophesied.
Yes, I hope, no matter her age, both inside and out, Lila looks more and more like…
Question: What lessons have you learned from a child? Do you know any little leaders? Perhaps you could treat them to an ice cream cone to thank them!
Dear Jesus, thank you for demonstrating the importance of being a child. After all, you arrived as one. Oh, how I wonder what you were like as a boy! I guess that’ll be a question I ask one day, when I’ve become like a little girl again, in your kingdom. Until then, help each of us keep a childlike heart, and use the little Lilas in this world to teach us. Yes, to lead us. Amen.
(All scripture verses taken from the NIV.)