chelsea headingProbably 99.9% of you have also noticed this but I shall ask the question anyway. Have you ever noticed that when a group has a job that is not an assigned, paying position, people stand around like sheep in an Irish pasture waiting. They are not sure of what they are waiting for but they seldom take action.
Will Rogers, one of my all time heroes, said, “We are living in an age of ‘urge.’ We do nothing till somebody shoves us.” That pretty much summarizes of what I speak. With any luck at all there will be a “class A” personality, or at minimum a “class B” who will start the shove. Usually this is a person who feels that standing around humming and hawing is more than counter-productive. Often they start “making suggestions” and then, if the group of human sheep does not “bleat” them down, they just start issuing soft commands.
However, yes, you are correct, those who become a Marine Drill Sergeant become more of a distraction than of a helper. Those “Sergeants” are fairly common, as you well know, but do not get a lot accomplished in a good spirit.
There has always been the ones who could take charge and carry out a program because it needed doing. Some people have sight but others have vision. I prefer those with vision. Almost every non-professional job I have been on there has been someone who was in charge but was not “officially” in charge.
Back when I was a principal and knew some school kids, I knew of one group who went to a church camp. There was some activity, of course, but not everyone was in favor of doing this particular activity. They did anyway and were later asked why they did if they didn’t think they would like it.
 One girl said it was because a certain boy wanted to. “Why didn’t you just say you weren’t going to do that?” was asked as a natural question. The girl answered, “He had us outnumbered!” As it turned out, it was a good thing and almost all were glad they did it. However,the leader was leading and probably not in great favor among adults.
Don’t get me wrong. Not every self-appointed leader can actually lead and not every follower can follow. As mentioned, the “drill sergeant” who does not know how to accomplish the set task is worse than no leader at all. Yessir, I have been in those groups several times.
On a certain mission trip, one man thought he knew more than anyone about the tasks at hand. Oh, and even about how to enjoy free time was another of his specialities. He bullied his way for a very short time until he seriously picked one of the youth members of the group. His tone, demeanor, and especially his statements, left no doubt he was a bully and unfit to lead a group of volunteers. Then the person who had been appointed to do so quietly led the remainder of the time.
There have been times when I have “taken over” a group as no one else seemed to want to. It would appear to me that doing nothing is worse than making a mistake by doing something. When I made a mistake and was corrected, I often asked why that person didn’t start and always, always got a feeble excuse.
It should go without saying that jobs need to be done and if one is expected to help complete a job, then that is what one should do. It is much better that critiques come after the job is finished and not when the whole process grinds to an incomplete melt down.
Most USA Americans are hard working and love to finish jobs. Most of us think very little of putting in extra time as we have “just one more little thing and then I am through.” There is no harder working person in this wide and beautiful land than a successful classroom teacher. For years I watched teachers lug home tons of material to work on at night.
Many times i left my office an hour or more after school was dismissed and see lights on in classrooms where the teacher was still trying to improve students’ education. More than once I have had janitors complain because Mrs. X or Mr. Y was still in their room working and he wanted to clean and go home. All this on a salary designed to ensure they needed a second job to pay bills on time.
But, as Will said, we may be living in an age of “urge” and have too many people following that urge instead of listening to their inner-grandpa’s voice. “Get up, get out and get started”. I’m sure that is what my dad said.