Leading the Way

Leadership. There's a lot that's encompassed in that one word! There's so much that we could evaluate about leadership that I wasn't sure where to start. In fact, I'm still not sure. I'm not an expert on it- not anywhere near it! I simply want to share a couple of things I've learned about leadership, especially within my American Heritage Girls troop.
(One reader had mentioned in a blog survey comment several months ago that she wanted to hear more about my experiences in AHG. Well, here you go-I hope you're reading this today! ;)

With five younger siblings, I'm used to being the oldest at home. In fact, I usually find that I'm the oldest one in whatever group I'm in. That goes for my American Heritage Girls troop as well.
My troop is pretty small, with only about fifteen girls in it (most troops are a lot bigger- I think the average size is around 35- 40 girls per troop). I'm the only one in my unit (Patriot), and there is no one in the unit just below. However, there are plenty of girls in the other three age levels. This means, though, that the next-youngest girl is still almost five years younger than me.

It's always been this way, ever since I started AHG three years ago. At times, there have been girls in the level right under me, but I've never had anyone else in my unit with me. It's been hard for me at times. I've seen the other units having fun together, working on badges and special projects with each other, and I wished that I could have that same experience. The AHG program is definitely not for the undedicated- especially when you get into the upper two age levels. The badges require much diligence and perseverance to earn, and I just knew that if I had even one girl to share it with, it would be so much more fun!

As much as I love being in AHG, one day, I just got frustrated. I wondered why I was the oldest, why there wasn't (and had never been) anyone in my unit with me, why I was always the oldest and the leader in so many different situations.

As I was thinking, it struck me that God had actually given me a huge gift- and a huge responsibility. Being the only older girl means that you are the one they look up to. Being the only older girl means that you are the one that they imitate. Being the only older girl means that you are responsible for making sure your actions are worth imitating.

That really made me see things in a different light- and it really humbled me as well! I still don't know why God has allowed me to be in a position of leadership in so many different situations. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be my own first choice of a leader, since I'm typically really quiet and don't talk much around people I don't know (and even with some people I do know! xD) But I can see know that God is using some of these situations in my life to help me get out of my comfort zone and help others. I never would have volunteered to lead a devotion for the Explorer unit on my own- but I did, and it helped me practice being less nervous doing things in front of a group like that. I never would have planned and put on a big project like the one I completed last month for a level award project on my own- but I did, and it really showed me how much work is involved in putting together something like that, and made me thankful for the wonderful people that helped me!

Even though I still wish that there were more older girls in my troop, I've come to realize what a blessing it really is to be the oldest. Yes, I have to experience it all first, on my own, but I hope that by the time some of the other girls get to Patriots, they'll be inspired to step out and do what God is calling them to do- no matter if they have eight fellow unit member or none. It's brought to life what Galatians 6;9 says in a whole new way: Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

We all know that we can never live up to Jesus's perfect example of leading. He was the ultimate leader by being the ultimate servant. Matthew 20;28 tells us "...even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Having a servant's heart is one of the best qualities of a leader- in my opinion- and it's my prayer to continue to develop a servant's heart more like Christ each day. When we have a humbled and serving attitude, we're truly leading the way for something bigger to happen.

This is as much of a reminder to me as it is a post that you're reading. It's a reminder to keep on doing good and to never give up. Being a leader is not an easy job. But it's a special job- and keep in mind that if God gives you a task, He'll also give you the means to accomplish it! I'm pretty sure that includes learning to be a leader like Him.


Well, there was just some of my (slightly) scattered thoughts about leadership!  I'd love to know what you think. Do you like being a leader, or do you tend to follow? What do you think are essential qualities in a leader? What are some areas that you are leading the way in? Any tips?


  1. I think this is good advice. I am also the oldest sibling. I'm also leader of my basketball team (not by choice tho I am normally really quite) but, theses girls look up to me so I pray about being a good leader. I also assistant coach 5th-8th grade boys in basketball. I would say when being a leader always be very encouraging because you have no Idea how much encouragement helps someone. Also if you are shy like me just praying for them is an amazing thing!!

    Thank you for posting, your post are always interesting and encouraging!

    1. Thanks for your input, Kelsea! Praying for those who you're in a leadership position with is an amazing thing to do- I'm glad you mentioned that! It works especially well for us quite people, doesn't it? ;)

  2. I'm the oldest of my five siblings as well and I've seen (and I'm not saying this to be prideful) how they follow what I do. Some of what they watch is because I chose to watch it. Some of their music choices are now what they choose. It's kinda scary but also a push to strive to follow Jesus with my whole heart and make my choices based on what he tells me - then I know I won't fall if I continually place my trust in him.
    Lovely post!

    1. I totally understand what you mean! It's quite humbling to watch it, but I love how you put it- it's "a push to strive to follow Jesus with my whole heart and make my choices based on what he tells me - then I know I won't fall if I continually place my trust in him." Love that! <3

  3. Very good post. And so true. Thanks for this :)


  4. Thank you for posting about your AHG experience. I really enjoyed reading about it. I am the oldest in my troop but their are two pioneers below me who I work with on badges.:) By being the oldest, I get the opportunity to help with the younger units on their activities and be a role model as well. What did you do for your Dolley Madison project?


    1. Thank you- I'm glad I got the chance to post some about my AHG experiences! I really hope that I didn't make it sound as if I didn't enjoy AHG or anything- I most certainly do! This post was more about how it fit into some of my thoughts and experiences about leadership. ;)

      At the end of this year, at least one Explorer will be bridging to Pioneers, so I know that next year I'll have at least one to work on badges with. No matter who's in what unit, I still enjoy getting to help out with activities and such, like you said.

      For my Dolley Madison project, I planned and led/coordinated a baby shower drive and volunteer work day for a local crisis pregnancy center. It was a big project, but also a blessing to see how it helped so many other people!

      Thanks for your comment, AHG Girl!

  5. I've found myself in positions like this a lot, too! And have been in pretty much the same exact scenario as you, except not with AHG. It seemed at one point like all the girls around me that I was friends with were younger than me by at least three years, and some more than that, and all the my-age friends were long-distance friends. It was frustrating, too! Then I remembered that I had prayed that I would be a woman that people could look up to. And I realized that God had answered my prayer, and yes, had given me a big opportunity and task to be a leader and example to the youngers. I'm definitely a follower by nature, though! I think a servant's heart, and humility are probably the best qualities a leader can have. The advice from Kelsea Allen is great--lots of encouragement and prayer. Also taking the time to build relationships with each individual person I think is really special to them. It makes me feel special when older people take time to get to know me and build a relationship with me, and I think it was even more special when I was young--because every youngun wants to be like the bigun's and feel special :D

    Wonderful post!
    Jewels <3

    1. It's so neat to find out that others have been in similar circumstances. I can relate to that exactly- lots of younger friends, and long-distance age-friends!
      I agree that humility and a servant's heart are among the best qualities of a leader. Your advice about building friendships- along with encouragement and prayer- is so very true.

      Thank you for your lovely encouragement and advice, Jewels! <3

  6. Based on your intro and conclusion, it sounds like you have more reflections on leadership. Does this mean we can expect a "part two"?

    When given the choice to lead or follow, I think I would choose to follow, given that the leaders would be people who treasured the Word of God and feared their Creator rather than man.

    That said, I would ideally have a bit of both; people in my life to teach me, challenge me and invest in me, as well as people in my life for me to teach, challenge and invest in.

    What about you? Given your new insights into leadership - both those you've shared here and your other thoughts - are you changing to become more or less in favour of being a leader?

    1. Thank you for pointing that out, Jordy- this post is definitely about reflections, as well as experience. I think that there might be room for a "part two" somewhere in the near future! :)

      I agree with you on your statement about choosing to follow, given the choice. I would much rather follow, but sometimes you're thrust into situations that you'd rather not be in exactly at that time (which for me, not long ago, was leadership). Having some of both- godly leaders as well as people who are looking up to you for the same thing- is quite important.

      What a challenging question! I feel like right now, God has placed me in certain positions where He's calling me to be a leader. Because of that, I need to be pursuing what it takes to make sure that I can be equipped for that role that He's given me right now.
      With that said, I also feel like God is calling me to understand how to better follow Him at the same time. Following God is what I need to understand the most before I attempt to be a leader in any situation.

      So I guess I would say that I'm trying to be a wholehearted follower of God first and foremost, so that by His example, I can be a leader for those who He's put into my life for that purpose.

      Thank you for reading, and for your thought-provoking comments, Jordy!

    2. Wow, one thing that you said *really* stood out to me: "Following God is what I need to understand the most before I attempt to be a leader in any situation." Thanks for taking the time to answer a challenging question. ;)

  7. Hey Emily! I'm late to comment, but I wanted to say, I really appreciated this post! This isn't a topic often discussed (or at least that I've come across). I really like how you linked good leadership to being a servant.. and actually thinking about leaders I admire that is the thing that makes me look up to them.

    I'm a leader (maybe it comes as part of being the oldest sibling?!), but I'm also shy so that gets in the way sometimes. One thing I've felt convicted about leading in is conversation. I find it easy to judge others for gossiping and speaking negatively, etc, rather than change the conversation by example.. I don't know if that makes sense.

    So thanks for this relevant and timely post! It sounds like God has given you some amazing opportunities for leading - and I really admire your positive attitude to being the oldest by far in AHG. I'm sure God is already using you! :)

    1. Hey Jessica! It's no problem! I love comments at any time. :D

      I think all oldest siblings are naturally leaders to some extent, whether they enjoy it or not. xD I'm also shy, so I understand perfectly what you're saying. It's funny, since I've also been thinking about that exact same thing- leading through example in conversations, rather than just judging. So yes, you made perfect sense!

      Thank YOU- your comment really blessed me, Jessica! <33

  8. Hi Emily! This is such a pretty blog! And this post seems like it could help me a lot! I am the oldest at home too, and usually the oldest when with other girls. I saw your latest post, the Sunshine Blogger Tag. That seems like something that might be fun to try sometime!
    Well, have a nice night!
    Laura @ flowersinmybasket.blogspot.com

    ps. how old are you? i'm 17 (:

    1. Hi Laura! Thank you so much! I'm glad you stopped by and that you enjoyed this post. :)
      If you want, feel free to grab the Sunshine Blogger Tag if you'd like to do it. It is a pretty fun. ;)

      I'd rather not say my age, but thanks for asking.
      Thanks so much for following my blog and for your comment, Laura!


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