Tag Archive | leadership

7/3/12 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Don’t Judge

Don’t judge the people who judge.

Doesn’t that sound crazy?  But think about it.  How many times do we talk about those terrible people who are so intolerant, who say horrible things, who just don’t get it?  How many times do we describe someone else’s indignation and follow it by a comment, like, “REALLY?!??”  or “Get a life!”  We pass judgment on their judgment and somehow we think we are better than them.

When you see people carrying their Anti-Whatever banners and yelling in the street about a cause you don’t agree with, stop and think about it.  If you judge them,  if you scoff, or call them crazy, or get upset about how very wrong they are…how are you any different than them?  Does being right make you right?  Is your indignation more righteous than theirs?  Does your opinion matter more than theirs?  Are your values more important to you than theirs are to them?

So before you judge, stop.  What would happen if you stopped for a minute and asked them a question?  I’m not talking about the kind of question that has judgement attached like, “How can you THINK that?”  but the kind of quesiton that really seeks to understand like, “Tell me why this is important to you.”  Maybe by your question, you will get a question back.  Instead of a righteous battle of wills and voices, you can create a dialog.  And maybe that dialog will lead to an understanding that we are mostly the same.  Maybe that understanding will lead to a more courteous exchange of ideas where compromise is born.

Maybe.

But first you have to stop with the judging the judgmental, stop hating the haters, stop yelling at the yellers.  Stop.

Do you think you can do it?

How about now?

Or now?

Or now?

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7/2/12 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Be the Change

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Lately, I’ve seen so many examples of the youth leading the way.  You seem to have it figured out so much better than us “mature” adults….at least in some areas.

So today’s advice is to honor you and the wisdom that you have to offer the rest of us.

We live in a world of intolerance.  Kids your age don’t think that is ok.  You see the screaming adults on news channels and nasty campaign ads on TV and divisive rhetoric on the internet and you respond with head shakes (thanks for telling me what SMH means) and with tolerance.  The only thing you seem to be INtolerant of is… intolerance.  When a gay friend comes out publicly, youth respond with overwhelming kindness, support and love.  We all need to learn from that.  When you want the world to be more tolerant, bring tolerance to the world.

When you think the world has forgotten what friendship means, respond by showing the world what true friendship looks like.

When you think that people aren’t accepting of others, show the world what acceptance looks like.

When you think that Christians are giving Christianity a bad name, show the world what you believe it means to be a Christian.

Adults talk a lot of talk.  We complain and rant about what is wrong with the world, but we can’t seem to do much to change it.  We judge people for their judgmental-ness.  We pick sides.  We wag our tongues and whisper in corners.  We say one thing and demonstrate by our actions that we mean another.  If we want to change the world, we simply have to look at youth.

I know that none of this is perfect and that kids are bullied and can be incredibly mean sometimes.  But what I see more than that is a culture of acceptance.  I see kids reaching out to kids who have a different race, religion and sexual orientation.  I see them fight for the less fortunate and fight for the rights of others.  They show the world what it could be while we sit back and talk about it.

To all of us, follow the example of my beautiful daughters and the young people out there and be the change that you want to see in the world.

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Just as I finished writing this blog, I got a message from a boy who recently came out publicly.  He was thanking me for supporting him even though I didn’t know him.  He heard about my Facebook status last night where I told the world that I was proud of the kids that supported him.  He made me cry.  I say this not to toot my own horn, but to reinforce the points that I have made here.  He told me that it wasn’t the support of his family and friends that meant so much because he KNEW he would get that.  What he didn’t expect was support from people who he didn’t know.  And he is getting that too.  Both of these things are remarkable…that we have come to a place where a young man can feel confident that he will be accepted by his friends and family is so different from what I have seen for previous generations.  But it is also striking that what he expected from the rest of the world was intolerance.  At least he has been pleasantly surprised.  The youth is indeed going to change the world.

5/20/12: Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Lead by Example

You know how there are some things that I hear that make me completely nuts?  Like when you make a comment that implies that you are just ditzy or in any way not smart?  You know how that makes my head spin?  Here’s another one:  “Do as I say, and not as I do.”

Please don’t ever let me hear you say that…to friends, to little kids, or someday to your kids.  Here’s the thing.  People learn from you by how you act, not by what you say.  That doesn’t mean your words aren’t important…because they are.  It just means that when you say one thing, and do another, it is ONLY what you did that people will remember.

This is most important to remember when you are leading, when you are teaching, when you are interacting with someone who looks up to you.  In those cases, you must walk the walk, and not just talk the talk.  That may sound cliche but it is so very true.

In my last job, I was fortunate enough to lead some pretty awesome people.  And when I left, there were some who went out of their way to tell me that their admiration for me was because of the way that I conducted myself.  They told me that I set an example, that they learned something by observing how I behaved.  And they might have learned something from what I said as well, but I know that if my words and actions had been out of synch….they would have thought I was just another hypocrite.  There is nothing that could honor me more than for someone to think I behaved in a way that they admired. Words are just words.  Actions matter.

If a parent hits, their child will learn to hit.

If a parent is disrespectful, their children will learn disrespect.

If a parent is kind, their children will learn kindness.

It is pretty simple really.  Don’t wait until you have a child.  Set the example with everyone you meet.  When you screw up, lead by example and apologize.

Shine your light into this world, and when you illuminate the way, people will want to follow where you lead.

Practice what you preach.

Walk the Talk.

Lead by Example.