The Winston School of Leadership

A couple of weeks ago I finished up a 2 part series on what the Bible has to say about handling money. I likened money to having a dog. Why a dog, you ask? Well, dogs are pack animals, meaning, they live in a pack. And of course every pack HAS a leader. Problem is, when dogs are brought into a human home as a pet, as far as they are concerned, this is their new pack and they are looking for the leader. If no one becomes that dog’s leader, the dog will assume that role. When that happens, it makes for a frustrating experience – both for the dog and the family.

I know this, because my family has such a dog. His name is Winston.

Winston is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. We bought Winston six years ago as a puppy…a very cute puppy I might add. Now don’t get me wrong…we are not newbies when it comes to dogs. I had one as a kid. Before Winston, we owned three other dogs, and the one before him was also a Corgi. So it’s not like we were the uninitiated – far from it!

A few months after purchasing him from the breeder, we brought him into our home and it became clear that he was not familiar with the word ‘compliant’. Words like ‘strong-willed’, ‘stubborn’, ‘just-plain-bad’ all come to mind. So with that we headed to a well known dog training facility for ten weeks of learning the basics. Every week was a mountain of stress for Winston and for me, but in the end, I passed!

In the weeks following up to this I soon discovered that I had mastered leading him, but April and our three children…well, let’s just say that Winston drew the line on who he was going to allow lead him.

Enter The Dog Whisperer. For those who are familiar with this television show, Cesar Milan (aka The Dog Whisperer) allows viewers to go with him into homes with ‘problem dogs’ – okay, problem owners. Seriously, there are dogs that he comes up against that I wouldn’t touch with a coat of armour on me. But he does it! Within the span of a few minutes, he has communicated by voice and body language that he is leader of the pack in that house. Now granted, there have been instances where the dog has sunk teeth into Cesar’s skin, but even those dogs eventually succumb to the leadership of Cesar.

So what does this have to do with the price of tea in China, you ask? Well…maybe nothing about tea, but everything about some of the qualities that must be found in a leader. Qualities like calmness, confidence, presence, gentleness, understanding and direction, are just some of what dogs look for in a leader. Come to think of it, those are similar to the qualities I look for in those who lead me. When leaders exhibit those attributes, I want to follow.

There are many times where Winston is just a pain in the butt.  But as I look back over these years with Winston as part of our family, I try to see him as my personal school of leadership training…well, sort of.  The one thing I do know is, as I learn to lead and Winston learns to follow, we seem to get along just fine!

Welcome to my Winston School of Leadership.

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