From Chapter 6: Mindset Shift #1 – Youth Are Leaders TODAY, Not Just Tomorrow
Whenever you step into a room filled with young people, take a deep breath and tell yourself – empower, don’t overpower!
I have been in too many rooms with too many young people and so I have seen the effects of an overpowered room.
There was once I was hanging around with 20 youth leaders. A famous visitor dropped by our room on her way out of the office. The moment she entered, the atmosphere in the room changed. No kidding.
This dignitary, excited by the sound of her own voice, went on to lull the crowd about her accomplishments. There was no contributor in the room but her. She asked the questions and answered her own questions. She was the comma, semicolon, quotation marks and the full stop. Finally, she left with the swiftness of a woman who was late to her own coronation.
And the youths? Well, they looked like fish temporarily tired of water, till she walked out of the room. And they swam again!
Lesson for us all? Never suck the oxygen out of a room! Never overpower a room! Bridge that generation gap carefully.
Instead of laying a red carpet for yourself to walk on, lay a bridge and let the young people walk over to you.
Empower the room. You do that by asking them questions. Get to know them better. Draw their thoughts out of them. Find out what their dreams are. See whether you can make that dream come to pass.
Stop forcing our man-sized armour on them. Instead, let them tell us about their five stones and a sling. Let them tell us about the lion and the bear they killed. Let them tell us about the songs they wrote while they turned a desert into a spring. Coax them to share with us how they are coming out of the backyard to the frontline when the prophet is ready to anoint the next king.
Believe me, the young people will let us dominate a room because youths can be very polite. They will let us be the brightest ones in the room. But when we walk out, we will be the ones with the most to lose. We would have just lost out on a golden opportunity to listen to what is vibing with the current generation. We would have lost the chance to spot leaders. We would have missed the moment to empower the next generation of world changers.
In other words, we would have missed out on spotting the next anointed king.
Don’t just invite youths to the party, give them a seat at the table.