The Leadership Gift of Memory

Posted by Richard S. Lytle, Ph.D. in Blogs

On a recent hot Texas Saturday summer morning, I found myself outside trimming shrubs and working on landscaping. While working, I received a phone call from our youngest daughter, Michelle. She called to wish me a Happy Birthday and said, “Daddy, as a little girl, I remember waking up many Saturday mornings to find you already outside working on the lawn and landscaping before the sun got too hot. Thanks for taking care of us.” At first, you might not see the big idea here but this call and her words grabbed me. First, she took the time to call. Second, she remembered something about me and what I did during her time at home. It felt really good to be remembered for something positive I did in her life as part of her childhood. Third, no one likes to be forgotten. In fact, we all deeply desire to be remembered for something. We want to be significant. We want our life to count. It was only shrub trimming and lawn mowing - but it made me feel good.

God uses the power of memory often. When he first placed the rainbow in the sky after the flood in Genesis 9:15, he said “Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.” God promises to remember us and take us home to a place he has prepared for us (John 14). He gave the gift of memory to the thief on the cross who asked, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus promised he would. To know we won’t be forgotten is a priceless gift.

Both Michelle and Jesus used the gift of memory to comfort and encourage those around them. They took time to remember. That’s what great leaders do. They remember people and they remember promises made. Great leaders help spouses, children, friends, staff members, and colleagues all find significance, joy, and a sense of worth when they share the gift of memory.

As leaders of significant influence, may we daily utilize the powerful gift of memory to bless the lives of those under our care.

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