What it takes to learn from the next generation

Samuel Reshevsky, age 8, defeating several chess masters at once in France, 1920He was one of the world famous chess players of the last century.  At age four, Samuel Reshevsky, was able to understand the game of chess.  By age eight, he was winning matches against chess masters from around the globe.  He’s pictured here winning several games at once in France, 1920.  He remained a chess player his whole life, writing books about the game, winning championships and breaking many records.

This picture is intriguing.  I wonder what these older men were thinking in light of this kid winning the games he was playing. I wonder if they were learning something from his strategy?

Older leaders are wise to understand how much can be learned from the next generation. Here are five attributes you need to learn most effectively from those younger than you:

Humility

You may be wiser, smarter, or any number of other things, but the fact is the fresh thoughts and actions from the next generation will teach you new perspectives about life and ministry.  Humble yourself to learn from them.

Connections

You have to put yourself in places where you are connected to and learning from the next generation.  Find times to be among them.  Talk to them.  Have lunch.  Attend seminars and workshops they are leading.  Ask questions.

Listening

Listening is really the best way to learn from someone else.  Take time listening to those younger than you.  What are they truly saying?

Encouragement

Say thanks with encouragement.  Don’t withhold blessings, words of affirmation or other input into the lives of the next generation.  Be generous with your kind words for people who are learning, growing and leading.  It helps you and them.

Be Sharpened

Iron does sharpen iron.  Incorporate new habits into your own life, as young leaders are probably doing with what they learn from you.  Be willing to not only learn, but to change and become more of who God is calling you to be.

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