The following are the more recent posts in our on-going blog of business communications insight.
For the past two years I along with a few close friends have made the long, long journey to a land far away. In fact, if you wanted to disappear and never be found, this might be a place you would go. It rests in the far northeast corner of India near the Nepal border.
There I have learned several valuable life lessons.
Here are two...
First, in the most humble of circumstances, there is great joy. Among these 53 children who have been orphaned, rejected, abandoned and cast aside, there is more joy and contentment than I see in most any American child. They have no clue as to our world of luxuries and amenities and they are quite honestly better off because of it. I think of them often as I eat a nice meal, crawl into a comfortable bed or take a hot shower...all things they have never, and may never experience. But they have joy.
Second, in the midst of great darkness, there is light. As we visit surrounding villages we meet many who know great hardship and despair. Not only because of physical conditions, but spiritual. For many, there is no hope, only fear and confusion. There is no light, only darkness. Yet among our young parentless friends, they have experienced the love and acceptance of a Father who has shown them light and given them hope.
There is much more I still can learn,
and I look forward to seeing them again soon.
Have you ever been on a run or a bike ride or a hike with someone who is stronger, younger, or faster than you? Being the father of three sons, it was humbling to reach that point where my boys could out-do their dad. They were each nearly twenty before they reached that pinnacle, but they did indeed reach it. For several years we have been on opposite paths. Theirs has been ascending steadily and assuredly with strength and speed. Through my forties, mine has been depressingly descending. Yet, I fight every day against father time to maintain strength and speed, but ultimately I know I will lose that fight. So there have been times on the court, or on the trail where I have to say those words, “can we slow down please?”.
Sometimes we are tempted to scream this to the business world. “Can we get a re-do on that move?” “Can we take another look at that?” “Can we try another approach?” But no. We must move on and move quickly. We must keep up and quicken the pace. As market trends rapidly evolve and corporations go through their endless cycles of change at ever-increasing speed, the challenges intensify for each of us.
Keeping in step, even a step ahead, is a goal for every effective business leader. Whether you run a business or support those who do, you can’t slow down. Next quarter’s report needs to outshine this quarter’s. We must get stronger and faster.
Can we slow down please?
No, we can’t.
Twice a week I go to school. I’m not furthering my formal education and not seeking an MBA or PhD.
I’m being educated by a group of 12-14 year old, male, middle school students.
Some call them “at risk”. Others refer to them as “needy” or “disadvantaged”. I call them “our future”.
It’s not likely any of these boys will be company presidents, scientists or great leaders. They may, but it’s doubtful.
I asked the class of 22 the other day how many had at least one male, positive role model in their lives. One hand went up.
This is our future. Fatherlessness is killing us.
I’m grateful for 10 men who weekly enter this school with me to engage these boys.
These students may not be able to verbalize it, but they are desperate for a man to lead them,
to take an interest in them and point them toward true manhood.
For many of today’s boys, a vision of manhood is what is desperately needed.
Weekly I am schooled in a different culture. Weekly I am learning how today’s young minds think and what drives them. As I learn their stories my heart softens toward them.
Ten years from now they will be employable, contributors to our society and economy.
Hopefully. Because…they are our future.