Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lamp, Lifeboat, Ladder

For the beginning of February, I took a few days (almost) unplugged. A bit of time to breathe and continue with quiet.

I will write more about this later, but we have re-evaluated our son's high school work, pulled away from the on-line high school and returned to home teaching: working together, planning around his interests, and slowing down the pace and the pressure. A needed relief for him, a pleasant respite for both of us.

Each week I give him an essay topic, or he chooses one related to a book he has read. Last week, I handed him this calendar page from my Mary Engelbreit daily calendar. I told him, "This looks interesting, like something you could relate to leadership. See what you can do with it." He looked at the cutsie drawing, kind of snorted in his fifteen year old way and raised his eyebrows. "No, seriously. Think about it. There are three topics, perfect essay format. Each one has good applications. Try it."

This is what he wrote.

     “Be a lamp, a lifeboat or a ladder.” What does this mean? What can be taken from this? What lesson can those words teach us? It all depends on how you think of them. I think of them as a leadership lesson. From a leadership stand point, what do these words mean? If you think about it, they are very self explanatory.

     Be a lamp, what does this mean? From a leadership standpoint, it means to show your people the way. Jesus says that he is our light and when the world is pitch black, he will be our light and show us the way. He is our lamp. He is our leader. As a leader you have to show your followers the way. As the followers of Jesus, he is our lamp, so we should be the lamp for our followers. You do this by being a good leader. Jesus is a natural leader and he showed us how to live the way we were meant to live. By example, we show others how to live. You just have to learn how to be a good leader.

     Be a lifeboat. How can someone be a lifeboat? So many people died on the Titanic because they didn’t have enough lifeboats. They thought the Titanic was so unsinkable that they didn’t put enough lifeboats on it. When a leader is a lifeboat, they are saving their followers. They are keeping them afloat and helping them out. A leader is someone that can fill many roles. One of them is the role of a lifesaver. When you are having trouble doing something, who do you go to? Your leader! A good leader can show you things you didn’t know, and help you do things that you are having trouble with. If there had been enough good leaders there when they were making the Titanic, things would have turned out differently.

     What can you do to be a better leader? Be a ladder! When you first started, were you already at the top? No. You started at the bottom and worked your way up the ladder. Did you do it by yourself? Or did you have someone helping you? You probably had someone helping you. That person was your ladder, helping you up by giving you steps to take. When you started you were at the bottom looking up at this huge cliff that was insurmountable. Then you got a leader, and suddenly there was a ladder on that insurmountable cliff, and now it was possible. You worked your way to the top with the help of someone else and now it’s your turn to help someone else up the cliff, be their ladder.

     Be a lamp, a lifeboat or a ladder. Now this should make more sense, because you should understand it better. But you should draw your own conclusion of what these words mean. What do you think they mean? What do you think you can learn from them? What kind of lesson are they giving you?  Only you can decide what they mean, because they can mean many different things and all of them depend on how you personally perceive them.


  1. I LOVE this! Not only am I inspired by his perspective, but I am also inspired to come up with my own perspective! Excellent! Thanks for sharing... :)

    1. Would love to read what you write - glad you enjoyed his thoughts. Thanks!

  2. Wonderful post and appreciate your son's perspective. The picture, as mentioned above, inspired me too. I've been studying the Sermon on the Mount lately... thinking alot about being salt and light... setting that lamp on a stand and not hiding. As usual, love your thought provoking posts :)

  3. I think it's wonderful that you chose a quote from a Muslim Sufi poet to expound upon for a Christian website.