I have been in schools and around education for years and have watched several student counsels get formed. During these times I have seen that some students truly want those positions and others who didn’t want the position as much would be more confident. Those with more confidence would get the position.
The students that wanted the position the most are the ones who would most likely do the best job, it seemed. However, while these students with stammering lips and clammy hands were anxiously waiting for the end results of the student vote, I knew they were not going to get the position they wanted because everyone votes on popularity.
Sure enough, the votes were counted by the teachers, and the “cool” folks won the election. This is the outcome of most student councils.
The popular students that are elected to student council have incredible potential, but the fire must be kindled and direction must be guided. Their capability of doing things is great but their willingness may suffer and their drive might misdirect when it comes to making decisions and guiding others through the school counsel, thus they must prove themselves. I use student counsel as an example, but there are much more areas of student leadership that includes these principles. On a large scale across the globe, these are some of the things we have to look out for in student leadership.
This is only a natural confliction, for the “cool” students with popularity have gained a sense of pride, whereas a developed leader has more prominent humility.
The “cool” students sometimes feel as if they have arrived, whereas the developed leader knows the journey of leadership is still ahead.
The less popular is not worried about the individual, but the team effort. Whereas the “cool” student only interests in what promotes him/herself.
The hard worker is only concerned about getting the job done and only cares what the job looks like at the end. Whereas the misdirected leader is only concerned about recognition, and what he/she looks like when the job is done.
The popular student may care about what people think, whereas the developed leader cares about what is right.
However, let us understand that there is a reason that one may be more popular than another. Some students have the natural ability to lead, or natural social attraction. Therefore, if a student with these natural abilities overcomes the pitfalls of popularity, then he/she has the opportunity to achieve much more than even what is expected of a gifted person. This is the beauty of a strong leader; the ability to raise the bar in a continual motion beyond limits.
In contrast, though a less popular student may stay more focused on proper tasks, execution may be more challenging if other students are not willing to follow them. The focused popular student, however, has more of a chance to corral a team together.
Many avoid the subject of more/less popular, trying to put all students in one pot. However, this method is ineffective, simply because it is not the case. Moreover, the popularity of a student, whether we like it or not, makes a difference in the way the student handles situations, makes decisions, and is able to complete tasks in a team effort formation.
God uses all sorts of different types of people to complete His tasks and give Him glory. More times than not, the God-appointed leader is only exalted through God Himself.
Noah was opposed by everyone on earth beside his family, and I am sure even keeping a grip on his family was not easy.
Abraham became an outcast before he could become the leader of the nations.
Moses was meek and did everything he could to refuse leadership over God’s people.
Joseph was thrown out by his own brothers, enslaved, and imprisoned before God exalted him above the people of Egypt.
King David was the least of his brothers, but King David was God-appointed, and I am pretty sure you and I both can’t wait to meet him.
The list goes on, and the meek shall inherit the earth. God uses our insufficiencies to bring Him glory. This is not to say God will not use a popular student to lead, He absolutely will! I encourage students that are popular that it is not a bad thing, but it doesn’t need to control them. However, to make good decisions, to lead a committee forward, to represent a cause, to fight for something, we, as leaders, must let God and His qualities consume us, and not popularity, power, people, or position.
We must stay focused, stay directed, and stay steadfast on our journey of leadership, lest we lose sheep that are caught grazing in the side fields of complacency, in the rut of incompletion, and in the dead-end of satisfaction.
A student who takes the responsibility of leadership, whether on the student council, FFA committee, Skills USA representation, ROTC, in the band, on the academic team, or on the football field, is no longer allowed the excuse for child-like behavior, but is responsible for diving into what should be a life-long endeavor of humility, confidence, and an example for others to follow.
How will you let God use you to lead others?
Stay encouraged, and God bless.
Isaac Redman is a 22-year-old youth pastor at Pleasant Grove Church. He is a servant of Christ and loves music and the outdoors