When my son was 5-years old, a classmate convinced him to say a bad word while in class. Then the other child tattled to the teacher that Kambell had used a swear word.
It’s been quite a while since I thought about that incident, but during a speech this last week I used it as an example of learning the leadership principles of trustworthiness, conviction, and discernment.
In the bad word example, Kambell trusted the other child. He learned about trustworthiness from the perspective of “not” trusting the child that is coercing you into saying naughty words. He learned that trust is earned over a long time, but is broken in seconds.
From scripture we learn that trust is mutual and when trust is violated it can cause disappointment. For instance, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked the disciples to stay awake and pray with Him while He went alone to pray to God. When He returned, they had fallen asleep. He expressed disappointment in their sleeping in Matthew 26:40 (NASB), “And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?”
My sweet little kindergarten student also learned a leadership lesson about conviction. Conviction is something inside of us that allows us to know what is right and wrong. In the swear word instant, Kambell knew it was wrong to say the bad word; yet he did it anyways. Immediately after saying the swear word, he felt awful. That is also part of conviction. As a leader, we want to tune into ourselves when we feel conviction. It allows us to be better at leadership.
Within scripture we see conviction working through the Holy Spirit. This is the guidance that also allows us to know right from wrong…but just as importantly it’s the correction in our hearts when we are doing something inappropriately. It’s the rudder that steers us away from sinful behavior. It’s also the gauge by which we will be judged by God for our sinful and righteous behavior. In John 16:8 (NASB) scripture tells us, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness, and judgement.
Finally, Kambell learned about discernment. Not his; nor the other child’s discernment. Rather he learned about discernment through the teacher’s interactions. From a leadership perspective, discernment is the ability to look at a scenario and react to the situation. In the naughty word scenario, the teacher had to discern who said what and why.
From a Christian perspective, discernment is one of the spiritual gifts. Like conviction, it allows us to know right from wrong. More than that, it also allows us to ‘know’ and ‘feel’ things that may be hard to explain. It’s almost as though you get a glimpse into truth without being able to fully understand it. Within our society it’s important to exercise discernment in regards to false teaching, twisted scriptures, and inaccurate theology. Titus 1:9 (NASB) states, “holding firmly the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict it.”
The leadership lessons of trustworthiness, conviction, and discernment are also applicable to our Christian walks. I hope this week’s memory lane with a naughty words and a kindergarten class help remind you of the importance of each of these leadership principles.