! But this is easier said than done. “Building a better community” is a big thing to say and an even bigger thing to accomplish. So how does an ordinary person, like you or I, “build a better community?” How does someone become a leader?
! I think Margaret Thatcher put it best when she said, “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Being a leader means living by example. Telling people that you’re kind, or honest, or smart, doesn’t make you any of those things. It doesn’t prove anything to anybody. If you want people to know you’re kind, give to everyone and let them know you care about them. If you want people to know that you’re honest, tell the truth, always. If you want people to know that you’re brave, stand up and speak, even if society says it’s not the norm, even if it means exposing your heart to other people, even if it means making contact.
! Real leaders know about contact. They know that there is a story behind every person’s feelings, and a person’s feelings behind every story. They know that, to quote Bob Dylan, “Behind every beautiful thing is some kind of pain.”
! They know that everyone is equal. Equally smart, equally capable, and equally hurt by comments made without true knowledge of the person behind their skin color, gender, or sexual orientation.
! But the problem is, not many leaders today follow what they preach. They abuse their power by having affairs, spending money on personal pleasures, and discriminating against certain races or religions. The children of today do not have very many good examples of leaders to follow. But how can we know what a good leader is, if we don’t learn from the bad ones?
! Leaders know that things won’t work out perfectly all the time. Because without failure, no one would learn how to succeed. Without persecution, no one would learn how to be courageous in the face of others. Without problems, no one in this community would push themselves to be better people. Leaders understand that no matter what the difficulty, it is essential for all people everywhere to continue to act.
Thanks Olivia for your inspiring words!
If you would like to learn more about our work, join us at our camp reunion on Friday at 5:00