Welcome Back to Middle-Earth for the Summer!
As a summer break for me and, I hope, a fun treat for you, I'm going to spend some time here excerpting from my last book, Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World of Middle-earth.
Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World
by Jill Richardson
TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER
(GANDALF) Part 1
Age: Don’t think he really remembers.
Color: Grey... white... who knows? It keeps changing.
Best Line Ever: “I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a witless worm!” (You definitely need to use this line someday.)
Best Line He Should Have Said: “Didn’t I ever tell you? Balrogs bounce!”
|You can't say you weren't warned.|
A leader who takes charge by... leaving? Who chooses the village idiot to help with an important job? Who just fades in and out randomly, but always shows up when needed? What kind of leader gives cryptic instructions and then leaves his followers to figure it out on their own? A good one, apparently.
“Then they knew that Gandalf was going to leave them at the very edge of Mirkwood, and they were in despair. But nothing they could say would change his mind. ‘We may meet again before this is all over, and then again of course we may not. That depends on your luck and on your courage and sense; and I am sending Mr. Baggins with you. This is your expedition after all. Good-bye! Be good! And DON’T LEAVE THE PATH!’” (The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, p. 139)
Gandalf takes charge by not taking charge. Like that’s going to work, right? Except, it does. He could have waved his wand (excuse me, staff ) around a lot and solved most problems himself. But he never does. That’s because the best leaders know something average leaders never quite get: it’s not good leadership to always call the shots and tell people what to do. That’s not leading; it’s herding. Any idiot with a loud enough voice and a border collie can do that.
A real leader knows how to help people learn to do things themselves. He understands that picking good people and letting them follow their passions works better than doing it all yourself. He realizes that letting people figure some things out for themselves makes what they learn stick better. Has your mom or dad ever let you make a mistake so you’ll learn something, even though they could have stopped you? Sure, they could have done it for you or not given you a choice, but then you wouldn’t get the experience of solving the problem. They know you won’t make that mistake again because you’ve had to work through and fix it yourself. That’s leadership, Gandalf style.
Jesus also knew that the best leaders think more about the people they lead than themselves. He had to teach that lesson to his own disciples, more than once.
Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World is a devotional using twenty J.R.R. Tolkien characters. It looks at what makes those characters who they are, where Scripture talks about the same kinds of people, and what it all means to a young person today. Interactive application and fun side additions included!
If you would like to find the book for yourself or a teen/young adult you love, you can purchase it here: