Me, An Anthill, A Beehive, and a Pinball Machine

In other words: Me and Kepler.

We were on our way to church this morning when we spied Bob, a homeless man who lives in a tent near the highway. I had one of my “homeless people lunches” with me so we swung into the parking lot to see if he would like to have it. He said no thanks but was grateful for some socks, some advil and a jacket.

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We didn’t make it to church after all, so we went ahead and did some necessary shopping at Kohl’s and the grocery store. Shopping with Kepler, unless I am on Kepler time, is some kind of challenge opportunity. Unfortunately, my opportunity radar was on the blink this morning so I allowed myself to become very agitated by his ongoing interest in every little thing along the way. I wanted to MOVE, MOVE, MOVE. He wanted to — well, here’s a Family Circus cartoon which kind of illustrates his method of motion.

Anthills, beehives, and pinball machines are arguably neutral-to-good entities. No doubt, going through the store Kepler’s way would yield all kinds of interesting things. But not when I’m in a hurry, hurry, hurry. And sometimes it’s not even the issue of being in a hurry as much as trying to find a certain item. I only have so much brain space, ya know?

Happily, I know our trips to the store and the library and all the little errands we go on are great for him to learn about things and places and people and ideas. And here in the quiet, with the hum of the air conditioner in the background, and the evening sky darkening, I can remember that.

Greg mentioned situational leadership this afternoon and I found those principles to be very helpful in thinking about this. The idea is that followers are best served when the leader adjusts to the situation and leads in a way that is appropriate for that situation. Kepler needs a lot of guidance and direction. This means that I cannot lead him expecting him to act as though he does not need guidance and direction. And when I do lead that way, then the anthill, the beehive and the pinball machine careen to and fro while waiting for the leader to notice what is going on.

It is these moments of reflection, combined with wise words and good listening from my dearest, which enable me to remember this is a journey, and to take a few deep breaths, and to begin again.

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