On heels of the recent Boston Marathon bombing incident, the air is filled with mixed emotions; from the disgust towards the people behind such a thing, to the prayers & support for all the victims and their families, to the appreciation & recognition for all the volunteers, health workers, police officers, bystanders, etc. that are still helping as a result from the disaster. Which may leave some of us thinking…
What would you have done if you were standing in the crowd near the bombing? How would you have reacted?
Do you ever daydream that you are the one to save the day? Perhaps you are the passerby who dives into the water to rescue a drowning child. Maybe you are the person who deftly persuades the robber to put down the gun, just in the nick of time. Or in this case, the person that comes to the rescue and save the lives of innocent victims.
It is human to want to make a significant difference in the world…and you can.
The day-to-day acts of community leadership are usually not as dramatic as described above, and they usually don't inspire a chorus of recognition. Still, as a community leader, you can make a profound contribution. Caring for your elders, increasing job opportunities in your community, getting rid of garbage & litter, or empowering others to lead are all activities that are heroic in their own way.
And we need many community leaders.
There is room in this world for more community leaders. The model of one leader at the top with everyone else at the bottom just doesn't work for communities. One or two leaders can't possibly solve all the complex problems that our communities face. With more community leaders, our communities will do better.
The more people become leaders, the more problems we will solve. We need community leaders to think about and organize around many issues: youth development, economic growth, substance abuse, crime, the environment, health care -- the list goes on and on. Each issue will require a group of skilled leaders to handle them. We need leaders who are women, young people, low to high income people, immigrants, people with disabilities and many others that have been told that they should follow others, not lead. We need leadership from all walks of life in order for our surroundings to be exactly what many of us wish – safe, clean, progressive, respectful, and organized to name a few.
At the end of the day, we may not all establish our own foundations by the time we are eight, but we can make a significant difference if we put our minds to it. So, don’t wait for disaster to hit – you can put on your cape and be the community hero that you may already aspire to be. Doing so can be infinitely satisfying.
Until then, may our thoughts be with friends & family of those impacted by the Boston Marathon bombing.