As many of you read a few weeks ago, my son Aidan’s name was drawn out of a hat to be principal of the day. That day came and went and was such a joy! Many of you have asked about it how it went, so I thought I would share.
The week or so leading up the special day, Aidan was having meetings with the legit principal to make plans for the day. We were hearing bits and pieces of those conversations at home, but we were really unsure as to what was legend and what was real. At home, we were asking questions like “What do good principals do?“, eluding a few things. The night before I had Aidan write a list of the 10 things good principals do. The list was hilarious and of course said that good principals wear sport jerseys and hats and chew gum! So take note and make sure to buy your principal some Hubba Bubba for Christmas.
We kept reminding Aidan of one of our common mantras.
With privilege comes responsibility!
We would say to Aidan, “This is a privilege, so you have to be responsible!” It occurred to me as his mom that this was an opportunity to really teach lessons on leadership and service. We had conversations about how good principals take care of their staff. So we asked “What are you going to do to take care of your staff?” The answer to that questions started our morning off with a huge platter of chocolate muffins, lemon scones, donuts, cinnamon rolls and of course Starbucks coffee for the teachers lounge.
When he woke up in the morning, he had 3 jerseys laid out on the couch. When asked what he was doing, he said that he needed to call a friend who didn’t have a jersey and ask which one he wanted. I responded by saying “Why don’t you pick which one you want to wear since you are the principal and you might get your picture taken and then give your friend his options?” Aidan got very upset and sat on the couch. I asked him what was wrong. He responded emotionally “Mom, you are making this about me and this isn’t about me. Please stop doing that. It’s putting pressure on me. I am trying to be nice to a friend.” I’m was pretty sure this Principal just schooled me. After our little come to Jesus meeting, I allowed Aidan to lead. He was clearly leading responsibly and I was in need of some coffee.
As we journeyed up our hill onto the school grounds, kids were in sports jerseys and hats everywhere. Aidan was seeing his dream come true! We heard shouts of “Hey Mr. Weston!” from the slides and the basketball hoops. The first thing Principal Weston did was check in with the real principal. She handed him a name tag with his official title and gave him duties to perform of which he did! You know things like checking in on classes, supervising recess, delivering things to teachers, eating donuts.
As per Aidan’s request, kids filed in to the gym to have an all school assembly to watch the Guinness Book of World Records movie. Aidan stood at the entry doors giving high fives and hand booms and the kindergarteners seemed thrilled! Kids were chewing gum like crazy. It was that kind of gum chewing that gives you the willies. The kind with mouths open and drool and chomping and smacking! It was then that I second guessed our coffee delivery and realized these teachers were going to need something stronger to get through this day! I was worried that the entire school was going to be covered in gum and I was going to have to volunteer my weekend scraping gum off desks. Aidan himself had convinced me that he needed to bring the most gum because of course he was the principal and needed to give gum to kids who didn’t have any. So off he went with pockets and cheeks stuffed with gum. I went and thanked the actual principal for the opportunity and for teaching Aidan what it looks like to be a leader and she looked at me smiling and said “ I told him the things he needed to say during the assembly, but he didn’t want to take notes or write any of it down so we will see how it goes.” Then she giggled. I was nervous. That didn’t sound good. He has never done public speaking! Here he was chewing like 5 pieces of gum and she handed him a microphone! “Oh dear Lord”, I prayed.
Aidan said what he needed to say, quieter than maybe necessary, but he did it! And kids cheered! “Oh thank you Lord”, I prayed. The kids watched a man ride his motorcycle through the most flames ever, another man be covered in the most bees ever and of course saw the most tattooed man there ever was covered in leopard spots, including his private parts! “Oh Lord, my son picked a video that mentioned tattoos on private parts. Please be with me,” I prayed. The auditorium busted out in hysteria! “Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!” I have to admit, so did I.
Rob and I left the assembly after seeing our boy who was given a privilege be responsible! As I watched over hundreds of kids heads and saw him with a microphone I had a sense. My son is not one to want attention like this. He is not one who is comfortable in the spotlight up in front of people and yet he was given this opportunity. I watched this and sensed God shaping Aidan for what is to come. I don’t mean microphones or being a principal or anything that literal. I mean God is getting him ready to lead, to influence, to shape the world around him. God is doing the same with you and I. If we are faithful with little, God gives us more. God has got more for Aidan, I can feel it. And He has more for you and I as we are faithful. God is shaping. God is calling. God is dishing out privileges and looking for people who will use that privilege to be leaders, to be responsible, to be faithful. It is those people God will use to change the world.
My little leader came home and we went out to dinner to celebrate! Rob and I didn’t get much detail out of him other than “My teeth hurt because I ate like 6 scones in the teacher’s lounge and 46 pieces of gum.” Then he smiled a huge smile. Our next lesson became clear: Never partake in too much privilege! In the midst of shaping, there is still more shaping and a lot of cavities to be filled! As his mom, I was grateful for the opportunity my son was given to lead, to learn, to grow and to be shaped for what God has for him in the future! Being a leader is not about being perfect, nor is it about being experienced, not is it about age. Being a leader is about taking the privilege God has put in front of you with who you are in that moment, in what you know and what you don’t and holding it with great faith and responsibility!
With privilege comes responsibility and with responsibility comes more privilege.
May we all chew gum, learn lessons and lead with great faith and care in the opportunities God puts before us.