Empower the gopher!

Empower the gopher!

Have you ever served as an observer when you could have been an adviser? Sometimes it just hurts to watch someone fumble around due to a lack of experience and knowledge.

No one is an expert at everything. When I was a young man I worked in construction to help pay for my schooling.

Being an apprentice among journeymen makes you susceptible to being the brunt of multiple initiations and the subject of many obligatory jokes.

For example, after having only been on the construction site for a short period of time, I was sent to fetch a board stretcher and a sky hook.

Look as I may, they were never found. Why? Because they do not exist! The “gopher” (the one given the honor to go for this or go for that) had been duped.

The men responsible for teaching me humility were soon teaching me the ins and outs of a trade that I still use today. Much was learned during those summers under the hot Oklahoma sun.

The experience reminds me of the wisdom shared in the ancient book of Proverbs. “Plans fail for lack of counsel but with many advisers they succeed. Whoever needs life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.”

Looking back, I have observed at least three methods of developing an apprentice; criticism, critique and correction.

Criticism has an eye for perfection but fails to do much more than point out the mistake.

Critique draws from experience but fails to share ways to avoid the problem moving forward.

Correction sees the problem, provides input and then demonstrates how to make the change.

Criticism tends to be negative and hurtful.

Critique is neutral and somewhat helpful.

Correction is positive and empowering.

Age is no sure sign of knowledge, experience or wisdom. But the older we get, the more likely it is we have experienced these three types of personal development.

Clearly, the most effective means is the way of life-giving correction.

Consider your ways the next time you have the opportunity to influence the techniques of the “gopher” in your life.

Will you be negative and hurtful? Neutral and somewhat helpful? Or will you be positive and empowering?

The choice is yours. The outcome is predictable.

There is one other key insight from Proverbs. It is a fairly blunt reality but the point is hard to miss. “Whoever hates correction is stupid.”

Whether you find yourself needing correction or providing it, the key is to utilize it.

It is time to empower the “gopher”!

Am I correct?

(Inspired by Proverbs 12:1 and 15:5,10,31 and 32)


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