We have very nice and lovable kids at our Playgroup. Most of the time, they get along quite well and are easy to guide. However, there is a time during the day when we have a little drama on a regular basis. That is when we do "the train." At a certain time we guide the whole group outside to wash their hands, while the main room inside is set up for lunch. To avoid chaos, we hold each other’s hands and pretend we are a singing train, going to the sink . Depending on how long it takes to prepare the room for lunch, the train sometimes makes extra rounds, reciting the songs we’ve learned.
The kids love this routine, but drama usually starts the moment we say it´s time to wash their hands. Suddenly, the kids that have a stronger personality take over and decide they will be the first person to lead the "train," meaning they are the ones guiding the whole group. The kids began to give that person a name: the leader.
Usually, it´s two kids in particular who approach me ahead of time, asking in a very demanding way to be "the leader" for that day. Sometimes they don’t even ask, but just grab a kid by the hand and command everyone else to line up behind them. But they are not the only ones. It´s interesting how even the youngest kids and the most shy kids, who we hardly ever hear talking, suddenly come up to me whispering: "Ako ang leader ngayon (I want to be the leader today)!"
They all want to be the leader. They all want to have the say and tell everyone else (including the staff) where to go and how many rounds to make until we approach the sink. It may sound kind of funny, but there were times when the kids got into serious fights over who will be "the leader," to the point that some would refuse to join in or would even cry if they could not be the chosen one.
At times, it was really annoying for the whole group, and we had to come up with a solution.
Obviously, this issue of people wanting to be the leader is very common, and obviously also among grown up Christians. I was reminded of the well known story of the two disciples who wanted to be "somebody," sitting to the left and right of Jesus´ on His throne. Jesus’ answer to them was clear: " Whoever wants to be your leader must be your servant." (Mark 10:43)
Having this in mind, we will now choose those kids to be "the leader" who show a servant heart at some point of the day. That can simply be that they helped the little ones to open a door without us needing to ask them to do so; or they ‘go the extra mile’ in helping us tidying up toys they actually didn’t use. Hopefully, that practical application will help them understand what it means to be "a leader."