I have been passionate about the small stuff for as long as I can remember. I give credit to my father for the obsession with this. From my earliest years he reminded me that the small things mattered. In the best kind of ways, starting with an invitation to take time out to learn how to use a hammer and practice what one has learned, the importance and value of small things has forced it way into my being. There was a second clue in the process that unfortunately I keep forgetting! Small stuff has a lot more value if one understands the big picture.
His clue then was encouraging me to ask questions and challenge. When I was in the shop, the traditional hierarchy of father and son and the rules that went along with that were put to the side. In this place we were two individuals looking to work together to get a job done. No question was off limits. No challenge was left unattended! I had preapproved permission to challenge and at times laugh at him. The rules were never one sided; I got far more than I gave. I initially thought this was a great way to create a father son bond that has lasted more than eight decades. I have come to appreciate that this was a great lesson in leadership that I often forget.
When I think of missed milestones and ignored instructions, I realize that the lost opportunity is shaped by two factors. In addition to the failure to act, there is also a missing piece of understanding and belief. Did everyone understand the milestone’s importance? The question applies to situations today as well as generations before me. Much earlier, a writer notes that “They [Israel] didn’t wipe out those godless cultures as ordered by God.” (Psalm 106.34) The observation is as current today as it was then.
As I consider situations where we fell short, I can see at least one who did not see the bigger picture. Asking “why” has never gone out of style.