(This post was written by Art Jensen, Pastor of Group Ministries)
From time to time, my son Josh gets a rash on his hands. We can never really figure out what it is so we have tried taking him to the doctor who refers him to a dermatologist, of course. By the time we can get him in the rash is pretty much gone. So we have been unable to solve this mystery. Well back in the Fall he had another outbreak so we got him into the doctor who referred him to the dermatologist, of course. This time I asked for an open appointment, which they granted because as usual by the time they could get him in the rash was gone.
Now we come to the meat of the story. Recently he had another outbreak, but we were able to go straight to the dermatologist and it was almost gone but they were able to do a biopsy. Unfortunately, they said it was inconclusive and wanted us to come back so they could take a larger sample. Well, as usual, when we got there it was almost gone. The doctor gave me the choice; we could either wait until next time or since we were there we could try to get a sample that would work. Well I reasoned since we were there why not try it? If we could get a good sample we would be ahead of the game and if not, nothing lost, right? Not exactly… As it turns out, Josh’s hand got infected. In fact it was so bad he was in a lot of pain and it was very swollen and spreading. His fingers were starting to get red and tracks were starting to go up his arm. He had to have two different kinds of antibiotics to get things under control and still isn’t back to normal. And He has been pretty much unable to use his right hand since the biopsy.
Oh and we got the results back… inconclusive. We will have to wait until the outbreak is more significant. Seems like a lot of pain and suffering for nothing.
Here was my leadership mistake. I thought the problem was worse than it was. It was annoying me so I took a risk. I weighed the possible downside and felt like it was worth it. But I didn’t really ask Josh what he thought. I just told him why I made this decision. Seems kind of stupid now looking back, especially since it was Josh’s hand and he is seventeen and perfectly capable of making the decision. And it really hit home when we got the results back inconclusive and Josh says to me, “Well Dad, now I have a reason to question your judgment…” ouch
So here is my formal apology to Josh. I’m sorry; I should have asked you how you wanted to handle this. And as a parent and a leader I was reminded that sometimes it is better to leave good enough alone especially when the cost could make things a lot worse. And especially if something is not broken. It could get things infected and risk the whole hand; in fact it could have cost me a relationship with someone I care about. I’m all for taking risks but not with other people’s lives. It is never worth sacrificing people, especially for things that annoy me, or for my agenda. I need to remember what is really important. Next time Josh gets to make the decision with his hand. Sorry Josh!