Be A Small Leader

U.S. President John Quincy Adams once said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

Now there is a model of leadership that is well within reach of the ordinary person.

American folk music legend Pete Seeger died a few days ago at age 94. Not only had he helped pioneer the folk music movement of the 1960's, he was a social activist as well, whose efforts helped clean up the Hudson River.

In an interview, Seeger was asked how he feels about America's future. He said that he was optimistic.

But he added "Be wary of great leaders. Hope that there are many, many small leaders."

In his sermon this morning, my pastor Fr. Doug spoke about this point that Seeger made. We often put our faith in Great Leaders only to end up disappointed and demotivated by their lack of real change. We pin our hopes on them...and then they let us down.

Instead of hoping that Great Leaders will do things for us, we should become Small Leaders. Small Leaders, like my friend John Fugazzie, the founder and director of Neighbors Helping Neighbors in northern New Jersey, are ordinary citizens who see a need and decide to get involved. They step up and do something about it.

Small Leaders are not in it for the glory. They are in it for the positive effect that they want to have in people's lives.

Small Leaders act locally while thinking globally. They look at the big intractable problems that we face and, rather than being paralyzed, they take action.

Where can you be a Small leader this year? What can you do in your town or community to help others? What can you do to lift up someone who is struggling?

Are there people who are out of work in your area? Do you have a chapter of Neighbors Helping Neighbors in your local public library? Why not start one?

Posted on Terrence Seamon on Monday February 3, 2014

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