Walking through the wilderness gives one lots of time to think. As I led my daughter Kara through Yosemite National Park, packs on our backs, down wilderness trails, I had to remind myself constantly of several things. First, I had to constantly remind myself that Kara is not as big, as in shape, as strong as I am. I have spent years working out, training, and trying to keep myself in decent shape. She has not (she's only 13, she hasn't had the years that I have had).
As I would head up the trail, I would look back and see Kara sitting on a log resting...after less that 10 minutes of walking! At first I would encourage her to get up and keep walking. Then after a while I had to realize that it was ok for her to stop, as much as she needed to. We were not in a hurry, it was not a race. To me, everything is a race, the destination is the goal. I really had to force myself to slow down and enjoy the journey.
Then it hit me. I had planned this trip. I was passionate about completing it a certain way. I had asked her (and talked her into) coming along with me. this trip was not her idea. It was not her plan. It was not her vision. She did not have the same goals and expectations that I did. She just wanted to follow me because I was her dad!
This same thing happens in all walks of life. A person will have a vision, or a goal. He or she will begin recruiting others to follow them, to help them to accomplish that goal. Then the leader heads off down the trail. The problem is this: the leader is passionate about this goal. The leader has dreamed about it, planned it out, though it through. The leader is prepared, mentally, physically and emotionally for what lies ahead. But how often does the leader forget that his/her followers are not where they are? As a leader, we must slow down, and bring those who are faithfully following alongside. We have to be prepared to stop and rest with our followers. We have to be mindful of where they are on the journey.
This doesn't mean that the leader shouldn't push those following to their limits, and even beyond at times. You can't grow as a follower if you are not pushed beyond your limits. But it does mean that the leader should recognize that those following are not at the same place as the leader.
Are you leading? Are you aware of where your followers are? Are you encouraging them, bringing them along?