Posted by Sir Br Patrick Lynch KNZM, QSO
on 3 March 2020
Leaders in today's world, be they in education, Prime Ministers or in any other significant position of responsibility, if they are to be regarded as effective in their role, they need to display significant doses of humanity in dealing with people they are responsible for. This has become the sine qua non of effective, influential leadership. In too many leaders, this respectful dimension is not as apparent as it could be. Respect for leaders is accorded by those they are charged to serve, when trust and respect are the avenues of interaction between them.
There is no doubt that people today, of all creeds and nations, react positively to leaders who provide inspiration for their community and at the same time demonstrate respect for their humanity. Pope Francis's statement that all humanity are daughters and sons of our Heavenly Father is all the more reason to ensure we are compassionate. Yes, we all need to help ourselves, as best we can, but many individuals need a merciful hand-up when they are down-trodden and this is where we all come into the equation.
People's humanity is greatly enhanced when they have a personal life mission bigger than themselves. With such a worldview, individuals are better able to navigate their lives in circumstances where dramatic global external challenges constantly occur. Despite the challenges there is much room for hope, since the human spirit is resilient and human talent and creativity are abundant. History teaches us to hope and hope is fundamental to a successful way of living.
Today's society needs plenty of understanding, rather than condemnation. It is too easy to focus on war, terrorism, violence, selfishness, greed and so on, which are all a tragic and unfortunate part of the human experience. Rather, we would be very wise to follow the wisdom of the Chinese proverb: "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Or, as the Jewish community say, "our job on earth is to repair humanity, as we seek to make the world a better place".
In order to live in a functioning society individuals, require a set of ideas based on a spiritual and philosophical view of life, which is other-oriented. This means we have to expose ourselves to the wisdom of the world's great thinkers, philosophers and leaders. It also means coming to an understanding of the ideas and beliefs of the great civilizations, along with the world's major religions and philosophies wisdom and fresh ideas are generated in this way, after all, we are all global citizens.
International geo-strategic issues are dramatically growing in importance, and in many instances creating fear, anxiety and confusion in the minds of people. Mental health issues, with their incumbent bedfellows, free floating anxiety and depression are expressions of the human condition which have become quite large in too many young and not so young people's lives.
It is important to create a spiritual framework in our lives, simply because contemporary geo-strategic issues are now writ large in our psyche, as we wonder what sort of world we are facing. Our sense of hope and personal wellbeing is closely tied to their awareness of the pressures on global ecology and the fear that humankind has reached a tipping point in terms of global sustainability.
The challenges the world today faces, call for resourcing enthusiasm amongst ourselves, individually and amongst others. It is possible to energize hope in the spirits of everyone we come into contact with. We can be part of strengthening the bonds of human flourishing as we seek to serve society at large. This only happens when we deeply respect other human beings and recognise the sacred which is within them.
Let us not take our foot off the accelerator of progress and development. If we ever slow down on our commitment to constant improvement, we will start to go backwards. Let us be enthusiastic, joyful educators who bring the Good News of the Gospel to those whom we serve.