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A Renaissance in Social Leadership

I actually wrote and posted this article in 2009, but I felt that it was a good time to take another look.
In Lee Iacocca’s book Where Have All the Leaders Gone?, he strikes a poignant cord—with all of these problems we are facing, where is the outrage?
And now that he mentions it, where the heck are all of the leaders?
Why is no one other than “beltway fever” politicians putting forth answers, and bad ones at that.
Why are we all just standing around waiting? And what are we waiting for?  Where are the ordinary men and women who are the legacy of this great nation?  The Sergeant Yorks, the Mr. Smiths, the Rosa Parks’, the Preston Tuckers and the adherents of Cincinnatus?
Where are the everyday leaders in society, who have the common horse sense to solve these problems?  Whether it be a trillion dollar bail out, or government provided health care or the fall of the dollar or something as simple as living within your means—where is the sound thinking and the “Yankee Ingenuity” America is so famous for?
With all of the resources in our modern society- family, media, community, business, church, local government and education, we should have at least a few really good solutions being discussed and promoted from every tavern, small business, restaurant, board room and dining room table.
I study history, and I have to tell you, it doesn’t look good.  Historically, no nation (outside of the city-state called  Nineveh) has ever noticed their own folly in real time.  We are no exception.
Like other nations from the past, we either assume that we are smarter than the last civilization who tried to borrow their way out of debt (or dig their way out of a hole) or we are so ignorant that we don’t have any idea what is happening at all.  Either way, our existing course adds up to a really bad time.
So I will take my own admonition and offer a solution, one that I believe has been the salvation of this nation many times in the past and is likely to be the hope for us now.  I call it A Renaissance in Social Leadership. It is generally agreed upon by historians that the Dark Ages came to an end by the advent of a period known as the Renaissance.
This was a period most known for ordinary people and aristocrats alike, who seeing a need in their families, towns, cities and nations, determined to improve themselves and provide much needed societal leadership through rigorous study and the revival of many of the arts, sciences and knowledge lost during the previous 400 years.
Many of these self-appointed leaders believed that the church and the government (who had been the steward of the people’s hearts and minds for so long) were not fully meeting the needs of the people and determined to do something about it.  Thus began the Renaissance.
Today I believe it is time for such a renewal: a Renaissance of Social Leadership.  I see a vast need for a Renaissance in education, and creativity, and relationships and values.  A Renaissance of Social Leadership means a rejuvenation of individuals, marriages, families, and communities.
A Renaissance of Social Leadership means a rediscovery of the joy of learning for learning’s sake, the development of personal mission and a focus on unleashing your personal genius.
What can one person do? And what does this mean in everyday living? It means that rather than just waiting around to be told what to do, we as citizens need to take a leadership role in our communities.
It means that mothers and fathers need to start acting like the stewards that they really are and can be.
It means that rather than following the media blindly, we should hold them accountable.
It means that we should be actively engaged in our local governments, anxiously following and being involved in our immediate governance.
It means that we should all be pursuing a lifetime education for ourselves and taking an active ownership in the elementary and secondary education of our children.  And demanding a lot more from higher ed.  It means demanding, encouraging and providing businesses in our communities that are beneficial to society and who give back a lot.  And it means living a life style that is in tune with our spiritual selves.
Although the tactics may be complicated, the strategy is simple—we must take our lives back.  We must stand up, assume responsibility and demand that government limit itself, that media stick to reporting the news instead of trying to make it.
We must be loyal husbands and wives, dedicated mothers and fathers.  We must participate in education by example, not coercion.  We must purposefully get out of debt and create family financial stability.
This Renaissance will happen.  But it may have to smolder for decades unless and until you and I decide to do something about it.  No government, no church, no civic organization will or can do it on its own for they are made up of people.  This must be a Renaissance of the people, of marriages, of families, and of communities.  The time is now for each of us to decide—more of the same—or do we step into our god-given greatness and lead?

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  • Ammon Nelson

    Once again, you nailed it.

    December 12, 2012 at 10:29 am

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