You know what has become one of my favorite summer activities? Going to my son’s Little League games. Well, Travel League, now that he’s a little older. Even though the heat can be straight up oppressive sometimes, there’s always a lot of fun to be had. Watching the kids play oftentimes epic, exciting games. Making new friends with the other parents. Spending quality family time together. Having a great excuse to gorge on hot dogs and popcorn.
But besides the fun, there’s also life lesson after life lesson. The obvious are sportsmanship and team work. And then there’s leadership, from both the players and the coaches. Having spent so many years in Little League, I have noticed some key characteristics of the leaders.
The leaders are approachable and approach others. They are concerned with their tone and how they deliver messages to others. They stoke excitement and encouragement in others. They are fair and patient. They are respectful to others. They are supportive, especially when someone is struggling. But most importantly, they know how to bring people together. They help others harness their greatest abilities and come together as a community with a clear goal -- not just to win, but to win with honor and dignity.
It really is a beautiful thing to watch strong leadership emerge. It’s great that our kids can see effective leadership on the diamond, or pitch, or gridiron, or court, or classroom. Perhaps some of our elected leaders should get more involved with youth activities. Maybe they will learn how to bring people together instead of indecorously driving them apart.
I am Joseph Flynn, and that is my perspective.