Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Live Broadly

Last night I had some training with our Stake leadership and they had us do some reading on some remarks by Elder Bednar. The piece was actually the transcript of a "conversation" with Elder Bednar, and he covered some topics of leadership, and at the end he opened it up to questions. Probably the neatest thing about the article was just how real he was about everything. He was just really frank, and not so full of the niceties that are so common in the church.

A few of the points that I especially liked:
  • "If you haven't been rebuked by the Holy Ghost in your personal prayers lately, I'd recommend you improve the meaningfulness of your personal prayers. To be rebuked is to be corrected and counseled."
  • "When we fail to give needed correction or counsel, it's because we're thinking of ourselves. We normally think, 'Well, you know, I don't want to hurt this person's feelings.' No, that's really not true; you just want to be liked. And the reason I'm not going to tell you what really needs to be said is because I don't want to be viewed negatively or fall into disfavor. It is far more loving to appropriately provide correction and counsel than it is to duck the issue."
  • This was actually from Elder Richard L. Evans, "It's good to be faithful, but it's better to be faithful and competent."
And this one was my favorite point:
Questioner: When viewed by the outside world we seem very different. We think differently, we dress differently, we speak differently. So much of that difference is about us trying to do the Lord's work and build the Lord's kingdom, and not bring in the world, so we want to continue "being different" to move the work forward. Yet the Lord's put a lot of truth and a lot of good things into the world. So as a leader, when you think about using all the good things the world has to offer, how can one pick out the best of the world and use that towards building a more collaborative culture - see the goodness in the world and help that goodness to build the kingdom?

Elder Bednar - Well, the thought that comes to my mind is prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. I think we need to be looking broadly. Some of us have regular opportunities to travel broadly. And from that you see things that can be brought to bear in building the Lord's kingdom.
I just really liked this idea of living broadly. There are so many ways in which we live narrowly. Some examples:
  • Reading - off the top of my head I can think of a dozen different girls who read only the teen fiction types of books. It's Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, and nothing else. And other people, just not at all. And guys have their niches too.
  • Eating - some people are just meat and potatoes. They eat the same thing at the same restaurants every time they go out.
  • Traveling - some people just never go anywhere. Some people rarely go beyond the confines of their own homes. Do you have siblings or friends that live in different states or countries and have never visited them? Have you ever been to the east coast? Out of the United States?
  • Living - we do the same things every weekend, with the same people, at the same places.
I know that there are a good number of people who don't share these same kinds of philosophies, but I can see how from a leadership perspective, when we live narrowly and keep our experiences limited to a small number of things, we have less range in the kinds of people that we can relate to. When we have a small number of experiences and interests, then we also become really limited in the types of friends that we can have. And I think that's when the real tragedy occurs - just not being able to reach as many people as we might be able to otherwise, right? People bring richness to our lives.

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