7-2-13 son_NEWA friend of mine who I met in coaching certification training shared the following story last week. I think it illustrates a great point on servant leadership and the importance of being available for the people you serve.


SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”

DAD: “Yeah sure, what is it?”

SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”

DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?”

SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”

DAD: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”

SON: “Oh! (With his head down).

SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow $50?”

The father was furious.

DAD: “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard every day for this childish behavior.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:

Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $ 50 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

DAD: “Are you asleep, son?”

SON: “No daddy, I’m awake”.

DAD: “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $50 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, smiling.

SON: “Oh, thank you daddy!”

Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, and started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

DAD: “Why do you want more money if you already have some?”

SON: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do.

“Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

Just an hour of time is all the little boy wanted of his father. 


As servant leaders we need to be sure to keep our priorities straight. We are here to serve those within our sphere of influence. Being readily available for the people you lead will:

  • Put people at ease
  • Provide the opportunity to show compassion and empathy
  • Provide the opportunity to build self esteem
  • Recognize them as important people to you
  • Allow for building a relationship
  • Build Trust

I know that we all fall short in fulfilling the needs of our children, our families, and the people we lead and serve. While we love them dearly, we have a tendency to focus on our self. Fortunately we can always count on the Lord to be there for us, which is a great guide.

Do the people within your sphere of influence need to come up with some money to pay you for your time, or are you giving them the time they deserve with you?

Mark Deterding

Mark Deterding believes in being a humble servant leader who is absolutely persistent on driving improvement. He insures clarity of purpose and vision and then creates an environment that will allow for that vision to be effectively carried out. He empowers and develops people to allow them to succeed. For more information about Mark and his programs visit:  https://triuneleadershipservices.com

 “Ask, and you will be given what you ask for. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened.”  For everyone who asks, receives. Anyone who seeks, finds. If only you will knock, the door will be open. Matthew 7:7-8