Hi everybody, I hope you are all enjoying this July 2018 summer heat. We could all use a little rain on our lawns, fields and farms out there I’m sure. This summer is flying by so fast for me but today I am happy to be connecting with all of you.
I want to touch upon 2 special types of people I keep running into this summer. They are, leaders and local volunteers. Seems like an odd topic I am sure. But somehow, in discerning my post today, these 2 groups of people seem to be on the for front of my thoughts this month.
We all know people in our communities who exhibit leadership qualities. Whether in business and in our workplaces, within our own peer groups or amongst our family members and friends. Perhaps you are a leader yourself. At some point in our lives, we must decide, as leaders, whether we want to “impress” people, or “influence” people. Author Rick Warren says, “you can impress people from a distance but you must get close to them to influence them and when you do that, they will be able to see your flaws”. I think that’s ok.
For me, the most important quality for leadership is not perfection, it’s credibility. People must be able to trust a leader, or they will not follow them. How does one build credibility? Not by pretending to be perfect, but by being honest.
Trustworthiness, honesty, humility, compassion towards others are also important characteristics needed to be an effective volunteer. I heard an amazing homily recently from an amazing priest in our community. He says, our culture tends to value status, reputation and public appearances. But God looks differently upon our good works in the community. For God, it’s what is secretly hidden, what lies in the depths of our hearts that’s more important than what we outwardly portray to others about our good deeds. He says, there’s a saying about the difference between reputation and character: reputation is based upon what you do when others are watching you; character is what you do when no one sees you doing it.
God values our motives and what lies inside our hearts. He cares more about why we do the things we do. He believes that the success of our volunteer deeds is measured based upon our emphasis on what we do in secret, without needing external validation. Remember, God always sees what you do, regardless of whether others take notice.
There are many unsung heroes in our community who reach out a helping hand to those in need. From office administrator volunteers who work in church parishes and many religious denominations in our communities, to people who serve food in shelters, to volunteers to visit sick children in hospitals, to people who lend a listening ear to the elderly in nursing homes, to those who organize race weekends to raise funds for community causes. These are special people, who likely do hidden work and expect no public acclaim.
I recently met a group of young men and women who literally devote years of their lives with weekly outings, building relationships and mentoring underprivileged children. These “Bigs” as they are called, donate years of time building friendships with these community youth. They are mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. Extraordinary selfless acts of kindness with years of dedicated commitment. These are just a few of the many examples of volunteers in our community.
The wonderful thing I notice about all of these special people is their joy, and their sense of purpose in ministering to those in need. Our culture respects success. Journalists tend to ask people, What is the secret to your success? Well what do you respect?
For me, I respect virtue. People who are patient ( which is not me, I’m a work in progress), kind, generous, courageous, people who are living and striving toward virtue. It’s so much more important than perfection. Who we become is so much more important than what we do or what we have. As we work on those virtues, our lives become more integrated. The leader who becomes credible through trust, the volunteer who works tirelessly who exhibits humility, kudos to all of you. Keep up the great work ! Until next time, MJ. xo