"Ian," I said, "you need to pick up all those toys before you go to bed."
"Daddy," he said, "I'm too tired to pick up my toys."
My immediate inclination was to force him to clean up the room. Instead, I went into the bedroom, laid down, and said, "Ian, come here. Let’s play Humpty Dumpty."
He climbed up on my knees and I said, "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." And he fell. Ian laughed and said, "Let's do it again." Well, after the third "fall," I said, "Okay, but first go pick up those toys."
Without thinking, he ran into the living room and in ninety seconds he
finished a job that could have taken half an hour. Then he jumped back on my knees and repeated, "Daddy, let’s do it again."
"Ian, I thought you were too tired to pick up those toys." He answered, "I was, Daddy, but I just wanted to do this!"
Good leadership is like this father, changing the “have to” to “want to.”
From a story by Neil Eskelin. Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume 3 (2005).