Yesterday, while Lena was in her ballet class, Tyce and I hung out. We played in the park and then took a walk. Its often hard for me to disengage from all that's on my mind--to be fully present in the moment--but yesterday was one of those days that I did manage to "get present" and we got to really talk.
As we walked I asked him why he voted for Barack Obama in school that day. "Because the whole class was going to vote for him, I guess." But he explained it wasn't an issue of peer pressure but more of futility. His thought was, "who wants to vote for the guy no one will vote for anyway? What's the point?" And besides that he likes Barack Obama (so do I).
Since he didn't really know what a president does, I took the rest of the first half of our walk giving him a civics lesson in American government. "The executive branch blah blah blah... the legislative branch blah blah blah... checks and balances..." It was scintilating stuff.
After a bit, we took a sit on the steps of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Wicker Park (which is a beautiful building, by the way) and I steered the conversation toward leadership in general. I asked him if there were any biblical restrictions on who can lead in different realms. Particularly, can both men and women lead in every realm according to Scripture? He puzzled for quite awhile. (He's a thoughtful guy--puzzling is his way.)
His answer was at best smoky. I could tell that he didn't have confidence and that he didn't want to say the "wrong thing" so I flipped into instruction mode for a bit. I explained that biblically, God calls a husband to lead his home like Jesus leads the church (Eph 5)--with servant leadership not pagan leadership. I talked about pagan leadership v. servant leadership and how Jesus is always our pattern for what leadership looks like.
Then we flipped to another leadreship realm--the church. I explained that biblically, by conviction I believe that elder leadership in a church (pastors in our context) is to be men--"husband of one wife" (1 Tim 3, Titus 1, the example of the apostles). In the same way that the leadership of a home has to be self-sacrificing, Jesus-patterned, servant leadership, so should the elder leadership in a church.
I explained that leadership is not dictatorship that good leaders rely on collaboration and get input from people who are better than them at things. I talked about how leaders accept blame when things fail and spread praise when things succeed. That leadership ultimately is about taking responsibility for the present state of things and then believing God for the future state of things.
Part of my point was to help my son see that in most realms, Scripture gives no clear deliniation about gender in regard to leadership--government, community, workplace, etc. And that in those places where the bible is silent, we should not invent rules. (Like, "a woman can't be president", for instance).
Here's what I've learned about opportunities like this conversation I had with Tyce--you make your own opportunity most of the time. Rarely does conversation like that just happen. I have to lead it out. And gently and prayerfully so, at that. And when I do God turns an average moment into a teachable moment and a time of special bonding.