One of my students said that wanted to come to school as the scariest thing they could think of on Halloween, so the student dressed up just like me! When asked why he thought I was the scariest thing he could think of, the student replied, “Because you are mean!” The other students laughed and I asked them, “Is it that I am mean or that I am strict?”
It launched an important conversation within the group. The question arose as to the purpose of being strict or firm with students or children. From the start, the students rejected rules and regulations in favor of perceived ‘freedom.’ The more we discussed the cost of anarchy and rebellion, the more the students began setting their own standards and expectations.
“So, you want us just to be clones of you?” said my Halloween twin. My response was pondered in silence for the next few hours, “Clones kill creativity.” There is a sense that within education, business, and religion that the purpose of leadership is to create clones of the leader. Quite contrary to that belief, true leadership simply wants followers to accept the rules and regulations but flow with creativity to make the rules and regulations their own.
We finished the day with my Halloween double giving a speech on my behalf recapping the importance of finding our own truth and living it with conviction. It was my set of standards that the young man was preaching, but his own exaggerated take on my mannerisms and delivery. Even Jesus did not want His disciples to become His clones. Jesus wanted the disciples to know the truth well enough to express it with their own words and deeds.
Imagine a million ways to say the same thing so that a million people could know one truth. 40 authors in 66 books of the Bible all pronouncing, ‘Chose life.’ Thousands of years of testimonies of tens of thousands each declaring in their own unique way, “One Truth set me free.” Stepping Stones is not about creating mindless followers. Stepping Stones exists to inspire a generation of students to strive to find their own truth and express it in their own way. We do not need another Darrin Erb in this world, but we do need another thousand students dedicated to Changing Lives… One Step At A Time!