I’ve recently discovered the importance of proper leadership. Without getting into this… because it’s safer I don’t… the following story makes a contrast between two extreme forms of leadership. Some people like to lead (or be in relationship) by forcing others into submission and to make these people cater to their every whim. I was guilty of this in many ways with my first girlfriend. I fought very hard through passive aggressive means to gain power over her because I was afraid of losing her… brilliant isn’t it. It’s sad that this isn’t an uncommon experience with people wanting companionship. Fortunately my current girlfriend’s aggressive nature and my education on healthy relationships forced me to give up this pursuit and to instead strive for a balanced and healthy relationship. Yea, for growth! On the opposite side of fear, we have those who lead through love. Both styles can get the job done, but only one will lead to healthy and happy relationships. These forms of leadership apply to all positions whether manager, teacher, bus driver, policeman, older siblings and parents of teenagers (parenting children is a very different deal; I won’t touch that one).
The following story is a revamped version of a classic tale. I hope you enjoy it and can apply it to how you treat others… and I hope even more that Disney will buy it off of me to make it a movie.
The Emperor’s New Outfit… Revamped
There once was a vicious emperor who ruled his empire by extreme cruelty. He was a skilled warrior and the people feared him. His only son Zang, however, was a different story. Zang had tried to learn how to fight like his father, but his skill was more in the field of books; he was a nerd. His father was ashamed of him and was very vocal about this. One day, without warning, the emperor died thereby thrusting Zang into power. The problem, however, was his father had been so ruthless that it taught the people to only respond out of fear, so now they didn’t know how to respect such a different leader. For instance, the people didn’t even bow for Zang except when a guard threatened them. Zang didn’t know what to do because he wanted more than anything to be respected like his father, but he was too sensitive and caring to be cruel. To add to this problem, growing up in the palace left Zang out of touch with reality and very gullible (duhn duhn duhn).
One day two tailors claimed to have found a solution for the new emperor. They told him that their latest discovered material could only be seen by smart people. Anyone less than smart wouldn’t be able to see it. They convinced the emperor that if he wore an outfit made of this material he would stand out as the wisest ruler of all thereby earning him the respect he desired. The emperor was very excited at this idea. When he asked to see the material the tailors said, “It’s right here.” “Oh,” said the emperor, “uh, I thought that looked like special material.” The emperor had no idea there was material, but he didn’t want to look stupid so he went along with it. He then had all of his advisors look at the material and they all agreed it was magnificent. The tailors promised that the outfit would be done in time for his big parade at the end of the week. The emperor was excited about this, but he was nervous because he seemed to be the only one not able to see the material. He must, therefore, be as dumb as the people thought. Every time Zang went by the workshop the tailors were busy cutting and stitching material that he couldn’t see. It really made Zang uneasy lying because he was a good person who cared about people, but he also cared about looking good and being good enough.
Finally the day came and the emperor was given his new outfit. The tailors bragged about how it was their greatest work. The advisors gushed over how lavish it looked. The servants in the palace praised him. The tailors took their money and were surprisingly quick to leave the palace, but Zang didn’t worry about that; he had a parade to join. There were musicians and jugglers, fire eaters and fireworks. After a brilliant introduction the emperor entered the arena. Zang knew he looked good because everyone went silent when he entered. This was the first time his presence brought silence. He revelled in the reverence… the supposed reverence. Suddenly a small boy from the crowd yelled, “Look, look the emperor’s not wearing any pants.” Someone else called out, “He’s right.” More people continued to vocally agree. The emperor began to panic and yelled, “Silence! I am wearing a new outfit that only the smart can see and he tried to make a gesture like he was pulling on the pant leg.” Suddenly the emperor was horror stricken. He may not be able to see the material, but shouldn’t he be able to feel it? Oh no. He was naked. He had been duped and now he was naked in front of everyone. He didn’t know what to do. The people already mocked him. What would they do now? Suddenly, Zang yelled, “Where is the boy!” But no one answered. One of the guards then threateningly reiterated, “Where is the boy?” The crowd slowly parted and the boy was revealed. “Come here!” yelled the emperor. The boy nervously came forward. “How could you say such a thing against your emperor? Do you know what I can do to you?” The boy was terrified. He was beginning to cry, but with all the courage he could muster he quietly answered, “I beg your pardon my lord, but I am very poor and… and… well, I don’t own any pants… I was excited because you look like me… I liked that you looked like me.” The emperor looked down. Since he couldn’t see the supposed outfit, he had worn a long shirt because he didn’t want to look down and see his personal parts dangling there, especially since if he could see them then that meant the other not so smart people could see them as well.
The audience was silent. This was the moment of truth. How the emperor handled this would determine if he was a man like his father or not. In a harsh tone the emperor said, “Cease this boy.” The audience gasped… but then the emperor said, “Put him on my horse. He will ride beside me because he was brave enough to speak the truth. We need more of that.” The boy’s face quickly changed to a glowing smile and he hugged the emperor. No one had ever hugged him before. As the boy let go, the emperor turned back to the people; they all stared in disbelief. The boy hugged the emperor? No one dared even look at Zang’s father when he was in power. The emperor paused and then hugged the boy back… and the people cheered. Zang had never been hugged before, but he liked it. The emperor then hugged a guard and said, “Thank you for being so dedicated to me.” He did the same to the other guards. The people were in shock. This wasn’t normal. The emperor then led his horse with the boy on it through the crowds of people. As he walked by, Zang would shake hands or hug everyone he passed. One by one the people began to kneel. This was a leader they could stand behind. Forcing people to follow out of fear can get the job done, but having people love you because you first loved them was the mark of greatness. From that day on the people knew they followed a man of greatness because he loved them. They would be safe; not because their leader was scary, but because their needs mattered because they mattered.
Rev. Chad David, Emotional Sex, emotional tune up