I’m an ole Idaho country boy and just up the road from my childhood home was a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each horse looked like any other horse. But if you were to stop your car, or to walk up to the fence and look closely at the horses, you would notice something quite amazing.
By looking into the eyes of one of the horses you would find that it is blind. Its owner had chosen not to have him put down, but had attempted to make a good home for him. This by in itself is somewhat amazing. But more amazing was that if you were stand still and listen, you would hear the “tinkling” sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound you would find that it comes from a bell on the smaller horse.
Attached to the second horses’ halter was that small bell. It let its blind friend know where it was -- so it could follow. If you were to stand and watch these two friends for any period of time, you’d see that the horse with the bell was always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse was always listening for the bell. It would then slowly walk to where the other horse was, trusting that he would not be led astray.
When the horse with the bell returned to the shelter of the barn each evening it would stop occasionally and look back, making sure that its blind friend wasn’t too far behind so that it couldn’t hear the tinkling of the bell.
Perhaps, the “leadership lesson” of the two horses is overly obvious. What can we learn from the horses? Years later and in looking for personal application, I learned that as a youngster I had the chance to realize that sometimes we are all blind. In our blindness we need to carefully listen for and follow the tinkling bell of someone who sight and vision (I use the word vision here to denote vision in the largest sense possible – meaning much more than sight). Other times when we are the ones that have the sight and vision, as we lead, we need to make sure that those we are leading are in fact following. In so many ways as leaders we must also be willing followers, too. When we are leaders, our role is to help others find their way. In this role those being led may not always see us, but they know we are there. -- Veldon L. Law