Posted in Christianity, Life, Thoughts

In Which I Take a Joke Too Seriously

Because that’s what you do on the internet, right?

I see this picture go by once in a while, and it always bothers me. I realize that little girls who have leadership skills have often been called bossy unjustly. That’s a problem. But it’s a problem this picture does not address.

Having leadership skills looks very different from being bossy:

Leaders are willing to listen to others’ input. Bossy people insist on their own way.

Leaders help out where necessary. Bossy people don’t want to do tasks they see as beneath them.

Leaders may ask a lot of people, but they are considerate of those people. Bossy people ask a lot without caring about ability or inconvenience.

Leaders may make insecure people feel threatened, but that is not their motivation. Bossy people want others to feel threatened.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but the attitude of the little girl in this picture looks more like bossiness than leadership skills to me. I think these things are often confused in our society. People in leadership positions are judged by how much they get accomplished. Bossy people can get a lot accomplished, so they’re mistaken for good leaders. But they do it by bullying and pushiness and being obnoxious where not necessary, and that is not the right way to treat others.

In 1 Peter 5:1-3, Peter talks about how the leaders of the church ought to behave: “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”  This does not sound at all like bossiness. And if this is what God asks of the leaders of his church, perhaps he knows what he’s talking about and this is an attitude all leaders should aspire to.

So if you know a little girl, or little boy, or anyone who has leadership skills, wonderful! Encourage them and help them develop those skills. But if you know a little girl, or little boy, or anyone who is bossy, try to teach them better ways to interact with others.


2 thoughts on “In Which I Take a Joke Too Seriously

  1. There is a deeper problem, Complementarianism says that all boys are leaders. It says that bossy girls attempt to usurp authority they should never have had in the first place as a result of Genesis 3:16b. Boys grow up being taught how to use their leadership skills correctly. Girls grow up being shamed for being “bossy”, their natural leadership skills are discouraged, and they get called all sorts of unkind names. I don’t get the joke, I don’t think there is one. It’s just everyday sexism, subtle and al.

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