VIDEO What Happened To Servant Leaders?

Talents gifts serve


By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

May 30, 2016

There is a common phrase that says,’ the more things change, the more they remain the same’. Frankly, it is not always true.

Growing up I would see a full flag holder attached to each parking meter in the downtown area for Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, and July 4th. We had a parade on Memorial Day and July 3rd that ended up at the park where the Fireworks display usually ended too soon in a big flourish.  People from all over the town came together over these very patriotic events. No matter their backgrounds or political beliefs, we were all Americans first.

This patriotic environment instilled a pride in being American. Something inside is stirred me upon seeing rows of American Flags line the streets.

At that time people who served in elective or appointed offices generally had the idea that it was a duty and honor to serve in a position for a period of time then return to private life, following the example of George Washington in declining to seek a third term as President.

In his Farwell address Washington sought to convince the American people that his service was no longer necessary by, once again, as he had in his first inaugural address, telling them that he truly believed he was never qualified to be president and, if he accomplished anything during his presidency, it was as a result of their support and efforts to help the country survive and prosper. Despite his confidence that the country would survive without his leadership, Washington used the majority of the letter to offer advice as a “parting friend” on what he believed were the greatest threats to the destruction of the nation.

While I served in different positions the patriotic lessons and the examples of many who served before me who never thought holding a political office was a career path.

Republicans and Democrats had differences of course however we did not have emails, faxes, text messages, and few had caller ID on their phones. We actually talked, either in person or on the phone, and found a path to resolve issues.

If there was a message that needed to be disturbed around town it went by way of telephone or printed flyer that was delivered to every home in town. We had a typewriter and a print shop on standby. Phones were dumb, you either dialed on a Rotary Dial or had a Touch Tone Phone, no apps. George Washington had much less than that during his twenty years of service.

Those years saw many improvements especially in the areas of helping those less fortunate and those suffering from a mental illness.  As with any request or requests for improvements we asked the questions: ’What if it were me or a family member of mine?’ and is this something that a church or private business should be handling? In a way, we were libertarian in not wanting government involved in every aspect of life.

We had a limited amount of revenue and the budget had to be balanced with respect to Police, Fire, Schools, various other services budgets while maintaining roads and town property.

You can liken the attitude of a public servant leader to that of a member of the military, he or she serves for a set numbers of years then goes back into private life. The difference between the two is; members of the military are well aware that they may be coming home in a casket. Either way the servant leader or a member of the military zeal to serve was no less diminished.

One area of improvement recognizing and treating what at one time was known as shell shock. Today PTSD is recognized as one the treatable issues first responders, victims or witnesses of abuse or tragedy can suffer in the same manner as a combat veteran can experience. Today self education and education of loved ones can greatly enhance the PTSD suffers recovery.

Yes, I miss having servant leaders in office who offer a portion of their lives to help make this a better place to live, instead of career politicians. Yes, hope springs eternal that we have not seen the last of the two thousand year old concept of servant leaders. May we look closely and choose wisely as the sanity we may save may be our own.

WASHINGTON’S FAREWELL ADDRESS

Just A Common Soldier

Memorial Day: Why We Remember

Star Spangled Banner As You’ve Never Heard It

strong people help others

image from Sacredtouches.com


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If You’re A Target of Bullying, Here’s A Way to Make Friends

Cartoon Bully intimidating a man. Isolated

 / CHERIEWHITE

friends

To feel better about themselves and keep from feeling powerless, too many targets of bullying resort to bullying others who are even more vulnerable than them. And it’s not right.

In many cases, targets of bullying who bully, or “bully-victims” bully not because they want to. They bully because they feel like they have no choice.

In bullying, bullies unwittingly teach their targets that to degrade and disparage another person is what it takes to stay on top or off the bottom! And let’s face it, nobody wants to be on the bottom.

One of the uglier characteristics of humans is that everyone wants to be better than somebody! The attitude is that if you’re not above somebody, anybody, then who are you better than? The sad reality is that people equate not being better than someone, even if it’s only one person, with being powerless. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

friends

But just the same, they do it because they don’t believe there’s any other way to stay out of the basement and boost their self-esteem. But!

What if I told you that there was a better way to get the same psychological benefits? What if I told you that there was another way you could feel better about yourself and eliminate those toxic feelings your bullies have instilled in you for so long? Even better, what if I told you that you could get those benefits without causing harm to another person?

Well? You can!

Here’s how you do it!

Instead of targeting more vulnerable people, how about connecting with and befriending them? Because they get bullied just like you. They may get bullied worse than you. You never know.

hope

And let’s face it. No one person is an island. There’s no way you can have even a little bit of power by yourself. We’d like to think that we can survive and do anything in this world just fine by ourselves and that we don’t have to depend on anyone, but that’s not reality.

The reality is that power means relationships. And we all need people as loved ones, friends, and allies.

Therefore, make friends with those who are weaker than you! Stick up for those people and be their buddy instead of their bully. Make them feel good about themselves and encourage them to stick up for themselves and to realize that they too matter in this world.

These targets need someone who they think has more strength than them to have their backs, and to be someone they can trust and look up to. These people will need you and depend on you, and that’s what you want.

friendship

Let me explain this a little deeper,

If you’re a target of bullying, the last thing you want to do is seek the approval of your bullies or their followers. You never want to build a power base with people more powerful than you are. They’ll only eat you alive!

And if they’re stronger than you, how can you expect them to depend on you? To make friends in your situation, you must look for people who will count on you. And they have to in some way, shape, or form, need you.

And the “weaker” targets will be the ones who must have you around to ensure their safety and to validate their importance and their deserving of love and friendship. They will need a friend, protector, and advocate. And you can be those things to them!

It’s much smarter to seek out and make friends with the “weaker” targets and create a relationship on their dependency on you. Because when you do, you become their pillar of strength. You become their voice and their backbone.

friends alliance allies

And because the other targets are more vulnerable, they’ll know that to turn their backs on you would be to do so at their own risk. Throwing you under the bus would only bring them hardship and pain.

In a friendship like this, you will have the power. So use that power to promote solidarity with them, uplift them, and have their backs!

And if ever you need something done, you won’t have to use force to get your new, less powerful friends to help you out. They’ll be more than happy to oblige because you’ll be their fearless leader, their encourager and protector, and the last thing they’ll want is to lose you. They’ll know that without you, they’d be in a pickle.

The beauty of this is that you and all the other victims will become a group. You’ll band together and become as one. And you’ll gain strength from your numbers.

I promise you that things will only get better once you put this into action. And the only things you’ll have to lose are your low self-esteem and your feelings of powerlessness!

VIDEO A principled principal who’s a powerful example

Laura Hollis spotlights leader of high school with impactful video for his ‘kids’

Sept 5, 2019

The principal of Riley High School in South Bend, Indiana, is a gentleman named Shawn Henderson. Henderson has been Riley’s principal for two years, and his affection for and dedication to the school has endeared him to the students and their families. It is evident in everything he says and does. In addition to his own administrative responsibilities, Henderson attends as many athletic and club events, school competitions and student performances as any given 24-hour day will allow (and his Twitter feed is proof).

Henderson is a physically imposing man, tall and muscular, but has an affable demeanor and a contagious grin. In every conversation with him about Riley, he exhibits that quality that excellent educators strive for: a commitment to high standards fueled by love of the students and belief in their capabilities.

Last week, Henderson released a brief but powerful video on YouTube that offers an even deeper glimpse into the strength of his character.

In one of what he calls his “Fireside Chat Conversation With Mr. Henderson” – this one recorded on a street corner in South Bend – he tells the story of how he almost killed his best friend 25 years earlier, at that very location.

In the video, Henderson explains that hatred, gang violence and even murder were common in his neighborhood, and it affected his view of himself. “I didn’t know what ‘being the best you’ meant. So I wanted to be everything that everyone else was,” he says. Henderson and his friend were standing out on that street corner that August evening in 1994 and saw a guy walk by who they knew carried a weapon. Henderson called out to him, “Hey, man. Let me see your gun.”

The man removed the clip and gave the gun to Henderson, who, thinking that there were no bullets in the gun, jokingly held it to his best friend’s head, more than once.

Henderson relates that they were all laughing and cutting up. “I was going to pull the trigger. Because I thought it was the cool thing to do.”

But he hesitated. “I kept hearing this voice say, ‘Cock it back.’ … When I cocked the gun back and put it up to my friend’s head again, a bullet fell out of it. There was one in the chamber.”

Henderson pauses at this point in the video, and the realization of what almost happened resonates just as strongly in his voice today as it must have when he was a high school freshman. He is blunt when he acknowledges how close he came to destroying a life and a family, all because of teenage bravado and poor choice of role models. “(I was) mimicking things that I’d seen on TV, mimicking things that I’d heard in music videos,” he said.

The story is dramatic, but the lesson, Henderson feels, is a simple one: He did not know what being his best self was. So he closes the video with this admonition for his students: “(M)y words today is to tell you to ‘Be the best you.’ There’s gonna be temptations out there. There’s gonna be obstacles that you’re gonna face. There’s gonna be a lot of challenges and different things that you may not want to do, and you may feel like quitting, but don’t quit.”

I spoke with Henderson a few days after the video was released, and he stated that although he had shared the story with individual students in the past, this was the first time he had made a public statement about it. The timing was right, he says, because students today face even more challenges than he did.

“Sure, we had movies and music videos,” he says. “But students today have the internet, smartphones and social media. They’re exposed to everything, and it’s 24/7.”

That pervasive culture is hard to counter, Henderson says. He also expressed concern that so many of Riley’s students face pressure not to achieve. “They want to fit in, like we all did,” he explains. “But being their best selves is not accepted by some of their peers.”

In that climate, Henderson believes that the best approach is openness and honesty. “The faculty and I want to focus on building relationships,” he says. “I’m open with the students. I don’t lie to them.”

Henderson made the video because he wants his students to understand that he faced many of the same challenges they do – and that he overcame them. So when he tells them, “I believe in your potential,” they believe him.

Shawn Henderson has been surprised by the positive reaction he has received to his video. He shouldn’t be. He may have intended his video for Riley High School students, but his message has a much broader audience. No matter what their circumstances, young people can find themselves teetering on the precipice of decisions that have tragic, permanent consequences.

It takes courage to admit one’s own failings, especially in a leadership position. But the power of example is more persuasive than perhaps any other lesson can be. Shawn Henderson is that kind of exemplary educator.

Original here