On June 12, 1964, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison in the Republic of South Africa. Refusing to succumb to the falsehood of apartheid, an established social norm that made it acceptable to separate and segregate people based on their race, Mandela went into confinement clinging to the only true hope he had left: truth. Twenty-six years later, he emerged from prison, set free by none other than what he valued most in his life: truth.
Shortly after his release from prison, South African President F. W. de Klerk and Mandela reached an agreement that would help mend the long-standing rift in their country. And finally, on February 2, 1990, the dark veil of apartheid was lifted from South Africa, forever.
Despite much rejoicing, many questions lingered. Most related to how the deep wounds of so many years of exploitation and hatred could be healed; people questioned how justice could be restored, how reconciliation could be achieved.Add a comment
Everywhere you look today it seems as though many leaders are more intent abdicating responsibility than embracing it.
The recent political wrangling’s over our countries numerous fiscal challenges certainly seems to bare this out. Instead of rolling up their sleeves to fight the right fight, it seems scores of those we elect to represent our best interests prefer to protect their own ideologies or promote their own agendas.
Perhaps this sad truth is why so many of us find ourselves hungry for a different kind of leadership. Specifically, leadership willing to risk doing the right thing, no matter the potential cost to self, in order to promote positive change in their surroundings.
Take the story of Paul H. O’Neill, for example.Add a comment
Not long ago our nation witnessed firsthand what happens when we quit fighting for our personal sense of truth. We experienced a phenomenon I’ve dubbed the Cowardly Lion Syndrome.
The situation occurred at a prominent American university. An institution that for generations has been seen as a pillar of integrity and accountability suddenly found itself at the heart of a national controversy that shook it to its foundation.
It happened without warning or mercy.
The controversy arose due to allegations that a former school assistant football coach engaged in inappropriate acts with a child on school grounds, and various coaching staff members were aware of it but apparently failed to report the incident to the police.Add a comment
In a world filled with constant change, a consistent sense of fear often prevails.
Be it fear of failure, of experiencing loss, regret, or of stepping out in a new direction, too many of us have settled for average, ordinary, or acceptable—all code for mediocrity--as the norm in how we lead our lives.
And doing so comes at a cost.
You see, allowing mediocrity to influence all facets of our lives is insidious and dangerous. In addition to clouding our thinking and hindering our actions, it stifles forward motion and limits opportunities to innovate, stretch and grow. In simplest terms, mediocrity paralyzes us in place. Subtly convincing us the status quo is as good as it gets, it persuades us to lead smaller lives than we are capable of living.
. . . unless we choose differently.Add a comment
Years ago an elementary school teacher chose to make a special video to share with her first-grade class. The video was shot in a school playroom filled with toys young kids absolutely love. One of the toys was an inflated Bobo the Clown doll, a long-time favorite with the children, which stood almost as tall as the first graders themselves. Next to Bobo was a large plastic baseball bat.
During one of her lunch hours, the teacher filmed one particular little boy in the playroom who was having fun with Bobo. In fact, she made it a point to encourage the little boy to use the plastic bat to inflict some serious damage to the unsuspecting (and innocent, I might add) plastic clown. So the little boy gladly obliged and began whacking Mr. Bobo like it was a professional baseball homerun derby.
Bobo proceeded to have a bad day. The little boy had a great time. And the teacher got it all on film.
Now here’s where things get really interesting.Add a comment