Once upon a time there were these two kids.
One was a liar.
The other was a bully.
They were in middle school teetering towards high school and had a lot to learn. Nevertheless, both were born leaders with a band of impressionable believers ready to follow at the nod of a head.
I was their teacher.
By the time these kids crossed my path, I had a few years in the classroom under my belt. I recognized their limitless potential and the crossroads they were facing. The question of leadership was null and void. Both would lead. But where were they going, and who were they going to take with them? That was the question I posed to them one day after school.
A roll of the eyes, a shrug of the shoulders.
I expected that. Like I said, this wasn't my first rodeo.
I invaded their personal space (within the legal limits) and again, posed the question, "Where are you going to take them?" I nodded to the young woman who insisted on lying about everything from homework to boys.
"What do you want? What is the end game? The object? Is it the power?" Tears started to erode the wall she had erected. I knew I'd hit on something vulnerable.
I looked at him. The bully. "And you?" His slouched gait and bent head didn't fool me. "Do you enjoy the laughter at the expense of others? Does it make you feel good to have others cheer you on? Does the pain of other people drive you forward?"
I stepped back and narrowed my gaze at both of them. I blinked rapidly to clear the tears from my own eyes. Such potential sat in those desks. I was charged with influencing children every day, but their peers would ultimately have more pull than I ever would. I had to start with them. Where would they take them? My words took on enough passion to move their eyes to lock on my person. "When you're alone and no one is watching, what motivates you?"
Both shifted. Both blinked rapidly. And that started a conversation that was bigger than us all.
You see, deep down, they both wanted greatness, they both wanted change, and they both wanted to lead.
They just weren't ready yet.
I pray for our young people today. I pray for their teachers, their employers, and their leaders.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.