When Jacob and Sophie were 4, they graduated from tricycles to two-wheelers with training wheels. And Michael and I graduated from part-time worriers to full-time safety officers, hell-bent on making sure that our kids never, ever rode their bikes without helmets. I believe that, in a moment of typical over-reaction, I told the kids that even if they found themselves sitting on their bikes in the middle of our living room that they were to have their helmets strapped on snugly.
So a few weeks later, as we’re driving down the street in our minivan, Sophie calls out, “Mommy, look! There’s a boy riding his bicycle without a helmet!”
And without looking, I say what most helmet-obsessed, sickeningly self-righteous moms would say in that situation, “Well, Sophie, he’s not making a very smart choice, is he?”
Sophie thought about that for a second, and replied, “But Mommy, what if it’s not a choice?”
I asked her what she meant, and that when she blew me away with her reply, almost causing me to veer into oncoming traffic:
“Mommy, what if his family couldn’t afford a bicycle helmet after they bought that bike?”
Before I had a chance to process her thinking, Jacob – who was not about to be outdone by his sister (who is, after all, a whole minute younger) – chimed in, “Mom? You know what? We have a full tzedakah box in the kitchen at home. Why don’t we use that money to buy bicycle helmets for families who don’t have enough money?”I kid you not. You can't make this stuff up.
And what does this have to do with you or your organization?
Leadership that always “trickles down” is missing a major water source. Give those whom you manage (or parent) the opportunity for their ideas and interests to trickle up.
And what does this have to do with me? Naches, baby. Pure naches.