Do you remember learning about the American revolution in grade school? I remember hearing stories about tea thrown into the water, a guy riding through town on a horse yelling, and some guy’s signature was a big deal. The idea of American independence from England was subject matter I learned in school. Growing up, I often wondered why we still made such a big deal out of it since we are so far removed from foreign rule.
Pull up most social media, news, or blog sites, and you’ll find that people are mean to each other. How is it possible that we treat each other this way, and what does it mean for you as a leader?
The revolutionary war gave the United States of America the freedom she professed in the Declaration of Independence. On our 241st birthday as a sovereign nation, the freedoms we enjoy are still a reason to celebrate. The division in our country, however, is nothing to celebrate. You, the leader of people, have the opportunity and an obligation to bridge the divide.
This time last year, I was just a firefighter. Now, I’m leading change across the state of Tennessee, advocating for people with special needs, and training first responders to recognize and more effectively interact with people with special needs in emergency situations. I didn’t ask for leadership, leadership was given to me – and that might be your situation too.
I was eavesdropping on a volunteer orientation recently, when I heard someone say, “We’re all just a paycheck or two away from being homeless ourselves.” Is that true, though?
We have a lot of axioms in America that sound good from an Americanized Christianity but have no basis in truth. One common phrase I hear is, “God only helps those who help themselves.” Or I’ve even heard it, “God always helps those who help themselves.” Either way, this is presented, it is entirely wrong and damaging if it determines how we respond to people.
I gathered my coat and briefcase, locked the door to my office, and walked out the front door of the building. I finished another day of work. The day wasn’t extraordinary. If anything, it was a normal day, but something happened that made me reconsider what a normal day at the office looks like.
December 21 is the Winter Solstice; it is the longest night of the year. From here forward, the nights get shorter and days get longer. The winter solstice marks the beginning of the solar calendar, and even without religious connotations, the day is celebrated across the globe in various ways.
We all know someone who has a great idea to help people. They rally support, cast a vision, and recruit a few people to help them do the work. They start their mission of love and compassion and then they want to know why they aren’t getting the results they expected.
I tell people that I work on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve to get out of attending family events. My family likes to have a Thanksgiving get together and my wife’s family does a big Christmas Eve event. An encounter this year, however, ruined that story, and I’m thrilled about it.
(Photo Credit: Chattanooga Community Kitchen).