What MasterChef Junior is teaching about business and ministry
Wasting a few minutes in front of the TV last night, I came across Fox's MasterChef Junior. Though I'd seen the program before, something hit me in a fresh way as I watched these kids chop, puree, and flambé their way to the judge's hearts.
A new cooking challenge is presented to the kids in each episode. Sometimes, depending on where they are from and various exposure to foods they've had, the ingredients and cooking style required can either be familiar or completely foreign.
The aspect of this program that really caught my attention was the way these kids cheered each other on. This is a competition and there can only be one winner. Yet, the smiles, pats on the back, high fives and words of encouragement are freely exchanged with no hint of ulterior motive. When one kid has a kitchen disaster, the others are quick to look for ways to soften the devastation
Even the judges are full of words of encouragement. The chicken may be underdone or a dish may have been overly salty, yet, rather than rub their face in their mistakes, the judges gently address the issue while gently challenging the kids to learn and improve.
So what happens when these cute kids are replaced by adult contestants in the grown up version of the show? Insults, back stabbing, scheming, and put downs. Of course not every contestant acts in a nasty fashion, but by and large, gone is the atmosphere of camaraderie and encouragement.
What if we viewed our role in the business world like the mini aspiring chefs and rejected the cut throat culture of their adult counterparts? Even if you are in a very competitive field, is there anything to be lost by extending a friendly word or kind gesture? Sure, you're still in it to win it, but that doesn't require trampling others underfoot in the process.
For those of you in ministry work, the call for civility and grace is even more necessary. Is your non-profit or church viewing others in your field as competition? Are you fighting for the same sponsor dollars and harboring resentment against those who are "after" your congregants, volunteers or clients?
If you witness another organization's failure or frustration, what is your response? Do you extend a hand of friendship or find yourself grinning because their fall may be your gain?
While I don't want to walk in ignorance, I do want to walk (and work) with a child-like innocence. I desire to have that gentle spirit that looks to lift up those who have fallen down.
There is much I need to learn in the business world, and I am actively seeking mentorship and council so that I might grow and improve in my areas of weakness. However, I think we can all benefit from watching children and learning from their example the art of friendship and fellowship. After all, there is little to be gained by finding yourself on top of the hill when you've left a wake of devastation behind you.