Linda, my wife, was recently going through a coaching workbook she had been reading a few years ago and noticed her hand-written note in the margin, “I have been so used to being the ‘fed leader,’ now I am the ‘lead feeder.’” A second note in the margin read, “Ada, your death…has caused us to rise up.”
Ada Hostetler was a mentor and coach to my wife. Beginning as Linda’s cabin counselor at age 12 while at summer camp near Kidron, Ohio, Ada invested in Linda’s success as a girl, and later as a young woman, a mother and a leader. Some 43 years, later when my wife was 55, Ada ended her life-to-life investment in Linda at age 90. The final 23 years, they served alongside each other in ministry together as core members of a church plant in Cape Coral, FL.
Ada invested in many young girls and women over the years because she was a true coach—an expert at helping others shine. Her personal success was found in releasing others to succeed. At Ada’s death, Linda realized that she was now called to be more than a leader who was looking for the next feeding and coaching experience from the older generation. Linda recognized her role as a 50 something adult was to now be a leader who feeds others who are in the generation below her.
Now my wife is empowering the lives of young women in their 20’s and 30’s to succeed as moms, wives and leaders. She’s finding joy in helping others succeed. Linda’s taking all the things she learned from Ada and inspiring the next generation to transformissonal living.
The Bible is full of stories that describe what happens when a coach or mentor speaks into the lives of ordinary people, devoting time especially to those who show leadership potential. The short list includes: Moses with Joshua; Jesus with Peter; Barnabas with Paul; and Paul with Timothy.
You have something to offer the generation under you. You just need to have a mindset of fostering development and growth in the generation after you. I know some older folks who only lament or criticize the lack of certain values in the younger generation. Instead, what if every one of us made an effort to pour into one or more persons from a generation or two below us? We might just change our world, one life at a time. Maybe it’s time to become the lead feeder and not just the fed leader.
QUESTION: What are some ways you are investing in the next generation? Please share in the Comment section below. Thanks!