Monday, June 18, 2012

Declaration of Independence and Leadership Styles

Read the Declaration of Independence 

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

Yes, I will be joining the “Read the Declaration” campaign for the largest-ever nationwide reading of the Declaration on July 4, 2012.
We must remember the legacy of liberty that our Founders entrusted to as we read the Declaration and help ignite a national conversation about our country’s founding principles as set forth in the Declaration and our Constitution.
Support Hillsdale College’s “Read the Declaration on July 4” campaign!

Leadership Styles

In my hometown is displayed a saying on billboards and bus stop shelters: Live your life. . . change the world. The local college is doing a 25-year national scientific study of the growth and development of children, from birth to adulthood.

This project would necessarily include an analysis of the environment, health and lifestyles of the parents and how it affects the children in the study.  As I continued to consider the saying, it evoked some interesting questions. Is my life changing the world? If I were one of those parents, would my life stand for something that others should follow?

A noted Christian leader, Gordon B. Hinckley, made this observation: “It is so obvious that the great good and the terrible evil in the world today are the sweet and the bitter fruits of the rearing of yesterday’s children. If you are worried about the future, then look to the upbringing of your children.”

Over the years, some parents have made choices which reflected no thought for the well-being of their innocent children. Whether those choices were dark and dramatic, or silly and trivial, they led to the breakup of their families. Even if the children were able to rise above the unrighteousness of one or both parents, they often blamed themselves and lived with heartache all their lives. This wreckage wrought by selfishness has indeed changed the face of society, but is it an example others should follow? What kind of adults have previous generations produced—noble leaders who have wrought great good in the world, or sociopaths who have left terrible evil in their wake?

Another question came to mind. Is it always good to “change the world?” In 1917 the Bolsheviks changed the world, forcing all to submit to their communist utopia. Those who disagreed were shot or sent to die in prison camps. The Bolsheviks’ utopian dream, their “worker’s paradise”, justified any means to achieve it.

The pages of history are bloodied with the atrocities of dictators and misguided religious fanatics who sought to change the world to conform to their warped vision of the “perfect world.”

The dictionary tells us that there was a legendary robber in ancient Greece named Procrustes. He was noted for stretching or cutting off the legs of his victims to make them fit the length of his bed.

The Bolsheviks, tyrants, and even current regimes—all have this Procrustean leadership style in common. If you don’t share their “vision” of a “perfect world,” then they will force you to stretch, shrink, pay, say, march, retreat, live, die, until you fit the mould they have set for you. If you don’t fit, then you are eliminated, sooner, or later, or as soon as possible.

Then there was Jesus Christ. He taught that whoever wanted to partake of the waters of life could do so freely, but would not be compelled to do so. All were allowed the freedom to choose, but at the end of the day they had to live with the consequences of those choices. (Alma 42:27)

Jesus never compelled anyone. He taught with parables. He showed in his stories the consequences of certain choices. To Jesus, the end or goal of eternal life was all about the means used to get there. The true winner was he who would lead by example. Anyone who used unrighteous dominion was deemed a cheater, and was disqualified from leadership.

Jesus pointed the way to eternal happiness, but would force no man to heaven. His followers always had the freedom to choose. He never forced anyone to change. Yet he changed the world. Millions through the ages have changed their lives, not because they were forced, but because they chose to change their own hearts.

If any of us would change the world, we can start with ourselves. Change our own hearts—to love, not to hate. To live, and to let live. Inspire, not incite. An outstanding leadership example is the one who allowed liberty, taught responsibility, and never forced the human mind.

Copyright © 2011 by Christine A. Davidson

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely brilliant stuff and yes change should come from within Leadership Assessments