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the men who mentor me.

I know, I know, this blog seems to have gone through another parched period. And I hope, that by 1st March, I’ll be able to write regularly. Do bear with me as I am about to resume normalcy in my life. As I’ve said it many times before, there are so many thoughts in my head, it’d be an accomplishment if I’m able to capture and expand on one thought per day.

The virtual silence is by no means a representation of the frenzy that I have experienced in my schedule over the last two months. It’s been crazy, but I like crazy. It’s been intense, but I thrive on intensity. I just returned from an 8-day trip to Sri Lanka (point proven, I didn’t even get a chance to post prayer requests!) and I’m in the midst of preparing for the REAL graduation ceremony this Sunday. On that note, it’s going to be a bittersweet afternoon.

Nonetheless I shall break the reticence by being thankful for the mighty men in my life. I’ve had countless mentors over the past decade and their presence in my life does compensate (to an extent) the lack of a fatherly figure. These men have sharpened and shaped my character and they play a part in who I have become today. Currently, I’m privileged and honoured to be mentored by the following mighty men:

  • On pastoring and relationships, I have RY.
  • On family and finances, I have PL.
  • On leadership, I have PC.
  • And the latest addition… Yes, it’s official today (!!!), on mentoring and preaching, I have BH.

So yes, I am blessed and really thankful for the road I’ve travelled with them but I’m more excited about the road that we’re about to travel. I cannot wait to pick their minds and learn from their journeys of faith and experiences. May I imitate their interpretation of who Jesus is to them and may I continue to remain teachable and open to their words of Godly wisdom and advice for me.

I guess this only bodes well for the younger men and women that I am mentoring. It’s gonna be a great ride!

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leadership reflections.

“Leadership is a process of influence. Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behaviour, or development of people in their personal or professional lives, you are taking on the role of a leader.” (Blanchard & Hodges)

Of the countless number of leaders who have influenced me in my decade of development as a leader, the two men with the greatest influence in my life at this point in time would undoubtedly be RY and PL. While RY has sharpened me in ministerial skills and PL in my relational skills, I cannot quite compartmentalise their influence in my life because they have taught me so many invaluable life skills in both arenas.

I am quietly confident enough to believe that God has used me well over the last decade as an influence with a good number of (young) people; I say this adorning a hat of privilege, not pride. I’ve had opportunities to take up leadership positions wherever I’ve gone and it has certainly aided my personal character development. Now I am given the privilege to have direct influence over the REAL kids, the leadership core of the G2 Youth Community as well as the youths that I personally mentor.

A jump in thought here, but the question then is, “Am I seeking to serve or to be served?” As far as I know, my leaders have always served me and to the best of my ability to be honest, I’d also like to think that I’ve been serving those under my leadership. After all, I always believe that there’s almost nothing for me to gain or lose when I lead people; it’s always for their own good, not mine. Thankfully, this leadership ethos that I have adopted over the years is consistent with the leadership model that I will now actively adopt – the one of Jesus Christ.

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

Regardless of whether I serve in the ministry or marketplace arena, taking on the leadership legacy left behind by Jesus is never going to be an easy call. In a society where the outspoken ones are apparently deemed as the “best” leaders, the meekness of Jesus greatly opposes our educated mindset. It is especially prevalent for me because I fall into the category of a vocal leader who is always seen and heard. Hence I have much to learn before the promise of an inheritance of the earth is given to me (ref. Matthew 5:5).

I must condition myself to learn the power of listening intently, keeping silence and withholding opinion. This year, it is my earnest prayer that God will raise my leadership effectiveness and influence to a whole new level for His sole glory. The leadership style of Jesus focuses a lot on the workings of the insides instead of the works on the outsides. I desire to develop to be and to lead like Jesus, not just to do what Jesus did or would do.

In conclusion, I aspire to consider this thought in all my dealings with people and situations: WWJB – Who Would Jesus Be?

why misunderstoodsunshinekid?

The moniker of misunderstoodsunshinekid sounds like some teenage bubblegum nickname that reeks of adolescence and youthfulness. And certainly not very appropriate for a man who turned 21 for the sixth time this year. There is, of course, a meaning behind this deliberate choice of words.

Coined towards the end of my time in Ngee Ann Polytechnic where I studied Mass Communication, it first appeared in the yearbook which was contributed by and distributed to every student in the cohort. The editorial team asked each of us for a photograph and three words that best described ourselves. Come to think of it, considering that I’ve not seen 90% of my school mates since we graduated, these three words would actually go a long way in helping us remember each other.

It was really amusing to see some of the entries. The more commonly used words were “Bubbly”, “Friendly”, “Outgoing”, “Sociable”, “Funny”, etcetera – basically words that were safe, correct and well, forgettable. There were some that went out of the box with “Nobody Knows Me”, “Damned I’m Good”, “Ahh Whatever Lah” and “I Am Indescribable”. But the one that tickled me most was “Humourous, Cheerful, Easygoing” and attached with the words was a really fierce, unfriendly and serious picture. Nice.

Without going into too much detail, here’s why I chose “Misunderstood Sunshine Kid”:

Misunderstood
Half my life I’ve been misunderstood for my intentions, choice of words and actions. I’d like to believe that it’s always been love-hate with me; people don’t really have a neutral feeling towards me. They either like me or dislike me. And because of this I almost always end up leaving either a great or a horrible first impression. As I age, I’ve learnt to deal with it by simply not bothering about it; I cannot please everyone, so I’ve learnt to stop having to justify or explain what I say or do. I’ve embraced this as a part of me and the only approval I seek would be that of God’s. I’ve learnt to take myself less seriously and not be so uptight about what people say or think about me. Yeah, I know this sounds very teenage/emo/angst, but hey, this term was coined when I was a 19-year-old teenager.

Sunshine
I’ve always been a positive and optimistic person and I think that it rubs off on the people that I interact with, especially with those in my sphere of influence. I’d like to I exude a “You can do it” vibe. On a side note, my heart goes out to pessimistic and negative people, but how they live their lives is their problem, not mine. I desire to be contented and always joyful. Another ethos which I live by is, “I could always be happier but I am situationally contented”. That was a phrase I coined together with PL some years ago. To an extent this word contradicts the former, but both somehow capture a key essence of my personality and character.

Kid
I’m always up to some mischief and I’ve always enjoyed being cheeky and naughty. There is a difference between being childish and childlike. I never want to lose the sense of wonder that children have. I always want to retain the kid in me, for the kid that I will have in future. I am confident that I will be a father with the “sparkle” in his eye. You know, kids are actually very sensitive and can detect sincerity from hypocrisy. I enjoy playing with kids and I think they (know it and) enjoy it too because they see it in my eyes – that I really want to play with them and I’m not afraid of embarrassing myself. I’ve always dreamt about being the father that my father never was to me. And for that to happen, I’ll always have that boyish playfulness hidden behind a now older and wiser head.

Each word could be an entry in itself so I’ll just leave it like that until I decide to elaborate further.

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