Leadership has to be one of the most difficult tasks we face, and ultimately, we all face it at some point. Whether at work, as a parent, as a communal leader, or as a place where we must stand up for what we believe and be a leader in the face of evil, moral injustice, or simply when witnessing someone embarrassing or hurting others.
Sometimes as a leader, we also must know when and how to stand up. There is a proverb that resonates with me: “Don’t rebuke a jokester, as he will hate you. Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.”
Most people would think this proverb is telling man to beware of the jokester, however, what I think it is saying, is that we are jokesters if we offer advice or admonitions when it will fall on deaf ears. Yet– and most importantly– that is on an individual level, and the guidance is simply to make sure you know whom you are dealing with. The idea is to make people better– not shame them, put them down, or create disdain or hurt.
All that being said, when the communal message is immoral, corrupt, unkind, racist, anti-Semitic, etc., regardless, we must be a leader and stand up, even if we will not be heard, and even if we do not see the results. As we see from history, it only takes one man to change the entire course of the world, whether that was a historical figure like Moses, who stood up as an individual when the mob acted out, or modern-day heroes like Martin Luther King Jr., The Dalai Lama, or Gandhi.
How do you build up the courage to stand up for what is right? When you are the lonely voice, when you fear that you will be the outcast, that no one will listen, or you will be hated or discriminated against, how do you get past the fear in order to speak up and make yourself heard?
This week, let’s be the leaders we seek in others. Let’s stand up for what we believe in, and show by example what it looks like to be a real hero!
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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