As I was searching this morning through quotes from our founding fathers looking for some inspiration, I focused on the idea of leadership. A concept that is lacking in our political structure in the United States these days. Before I got too deep into it, I realized that perhaps I have some expertise in this area. My time in the Boy Scouts of America, however tainted their overall organization, gives me some insight into what it means to lead. I finished with the Eagle Scout rank and served as aquatics director for three summer camps when I aged out at seventeen. Sure, some might not think this compares to running a country or a county, however organizing, feeding, and entertaining 150+ children, sans parents, is a microcosm not much unlike our nation today.
In my limited experience as a citizen of the American experiment, I have tried to remain a patriot. This simple word has many meanings and often differs depending on which definition or article you read. Each person in our nation has a personal definition based on their experience. Mine is simply, love of country; not of a person, an institution, or an administration. Country here being the people of the United States and what we have accomplished in creating and maintaining a new nation and a new race of people. Americans.
Current events and the overall current of confusion and fear have allowed me a few conclusions. There is so much information, whether true, mostly true, false, or fabricated, that it is difficult for Americans to sift through it all. True leadership is transparent. If you want people to follow you, they need to be clear on your ideals, values, and convictions and how it aligns with your purpose. When people believe in you and your cause, they will give more of themselves to it. Regardless of the sensational news, Americans need voices of reason, not discord, at the higher levels of our government. Now more than ever, our public servants need to stop acting like adult children and be the example.
I learned of this essential component of leadership from my scoutmaster, Spike. He was not a perfect man, but he did his best to model what he thought were good traits and behaviors for young men. I took some of those into my adult life and believe that my time if scouting – no matter their darker side – contributed to establishing the morals and values I hold dear today. But, this simple lesson of showing someone how, by being consistent in your behavior and your character, is crucial if you want to lead with integrity.
An inflated or near explosive ego is unnecessary, and can be dangerous, when you are in a position of power. As a leader, one has a responsibility to those who follow, provided they are contributing to the greater good. Most of those who seek to guide us down a destructive path only look at their minions except to see what they are stepping on. The ascension to and hopefully attaining whatever office is for the benefit of the person, their families, and their associates. It takes humility and self-lessness to be an effective, compassionate leader.
With so many voices wanting to be heard, so many people hurting, it is difficult for me to see our once great county tearing itself apart. Our country needs genuine individuals who love this country more than themselves. Forward-thinking men and women who see themselves as equal to those they “serve”. Becoming a leader is just as easy as becoming a dictator. I am glad that men of character took the time to teach me skills and ideals that I have been able to incorporate into my paradigm. I believe that our world is at a critical point in its development. What direction we, as a human society, take will be largely determined by who we choose to represent our interests and our countries.
We all have the opportunity to set the example and be better. Not for us, but for those around us and especially future generations of us. The concept of “It’s not about you,” is the most difficult concept for any leader. Building people up to reach a common goal that is advantageous for all involved, is the mark of true leadership. I truly hope we can get past this point in our evolution amidst all that is happening now and create a better future with leaders who are strong yet caring. America is at its best when we have solidarity of purpose and leaders who motivate and inspire us to achieve.
Be a force of hope no matter your status or stature. Lead where you are and were you can. Thanks for reading.