Servant Leaders Unite, Not Divide – Inspiring Leadership Story
The story is told of a wise Sunday school teacher who brought a set of very large clear plastic bags for her class. She told them they were going to play a game.
After distributing the bags, she then pulled from behind her chair a large bucket of potatoes. She asked the children to take one potato from the bucket for each person they really disliked and to write the name of that person on each potato.
The number of potatoes a child took depended on the number of people that child really disliked.
The children were then asked to place each of the potatoes they had labeled into their clear bag. Some children only had a few and some had many more.
Explaining the rules of the game, the teacher instructed them to carry the bag of potatoes every they went for one entire week, whether that was a soccer game, a restaurant, to bed or even the bathroom.
As the days passed, the children begin to complain about the smell that was being let out by the rotten potatoes. Those who were carrying more potatoes complained at a greater rate due to the weight and the higher dose of lots of bad smelling potatoes.
When the end of the week had come, the children were relieved to throw their slimy and rotten smelling bags into the trash. It was then that the teacher taught them an important lesson.
She said: “This is exactly what happens when you carry hatred for somebody inside your heart. The weight and stench of your hatred will go with you wherever you go. If you can’t tolerate the weight and yucky smell of potatoes in your bag for just one week, especially those of you with more potatoes in your bag, can you imagine what it is like to carry a bag like this around for a lifetime?”
What potato burdens are you carrying? Those who are truly servant leaders are those who diligently work on not carrying rotten potatoes. They work on uniting, not dividing. They focus on understanding, forgiveness and service. They build bridges between people of strength and trust instead of bridges that are never built or are fragile and easily destroyed.