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Tag Archives: Leadership. Servant-Leadership

They say it’s your birthday…

They say it’s your birthday….

It was Alice Walker‘s birthday yesterday and the post linked includes a poem by her entitled We Alone.

It reminded me that we alone have the ability to make the world a better place as we work together in collectives called we alone.

It is an issue of private shame

It is an issue of private shame.

The link is not to a poem, but rather to a series of quotes about hunger and the personal shame that comes with it. Politicians use hunger and other social justice issues as talking points and not seeing it as a matter of private and public shame in countries such as Canada and the US with their wealth.

On the left, we have politicians who would subscribe to giving people something. On the right, politicians would blame those who go hungry including the children. Giving people a hand up is important and walking with them is a part of the longer journey. Solving issues such as hunger is community work. It takes neighbours helping each other in those moments of need. Regardless of what we have, we share. Wouldn’t that be a powerful learning in our schools.

Landscape Survey

I chose a metaphor about 21st Century learning being similar to a living topography in my writing to date, which is different from the flat world view of some i.e. Thomas Friedman.

There is definitely more information available in our world and it comes at us much faster, but my view is one that of textured and layered world and not flat. This uses the etymological roots of topic linked to topikas and topos. In this sense, we engage topics which are alive and there multiple meanings continually emerge, one for each person in the learning environment.

I am challenged by the thought my understanding is not the only one that applies. I only need to turn to nature and see what John Brehm pointed out in this poem. I constantly survey landscapes as communally a better world hopefully emerges, not through a unified understanding, but one diversely rich and humane. I am called to remember others see things from a particular and unique perspective that is their own, not mine.

And what about this boulder,

knocked off the mountain top and

tumbled down a thousand years ago

 to lodge against the stream bank,

does it waste itself with worry

about how things are going

to turn out? Does the current

slicing around it stop itself mid-

stream because it can’t get past

all it’s left behind back at

the source or up in the clouds

where its waters first fell

 to earth? And these trees,

would they double over and

clutch themselves or lash out

 furiously if they were to discover

what the other trees really

thought of them? Would the wind

 reascend into the sky forever,

like an in-drawn breath,

if it knew it was fated simply

to sweep the earth of windlessness,

to touch everything and keep

Silence, Solitude, Sabbath

I head into my Sabbath – I disconnect to reconnect. Last weekend we spent time in silence and in that space solitude appeared. I enjoyed a good week in a place I often struggle to find peace of mind. Besides the retreat, it was made easier as I participate in a wonderful group on a monthly conference call and we met this week. I also interviewed for a radio show about mindful servant-leadership. This was an incredible experience and will share a schedule, when it is available, for those who are interested in listening to it.

I can only say the peace I felt this week was a result of the silence and solitude at the retreat. This and sharing that experience with Kathy was a great time.

Spacious silence and solitude…

Within you I sought refuge

Peaceful and compassionate place.

There lovingkindness discovered me

The heart breaks open

Each moment its reward.

Silently the spirit reveals itself

Able to speak

Softly, gently, tenderly,

Begs for its quiet voice to be heard.

Solace finds me

An unmarked path emerges

One step at a time.

At week’s end

Gratitude for wisdom revealed

For week’s beginning.

The Violence of Modern Life

Thomas Merton is one of my favourite authors and spiritual thinkers. He offered a radical definition of violence. This sounds like the opposite of multi-tasking, single-tasking. I hope I can do better as I move forward and take time to listen to the inner teacher and its wisdom.

Parker Palmer shared this with those of us who follow him on Facebook.

A Vision By Wendell Berry

Nothing worth its salt comes easy. I enjoy Wendell Berry and his reminders that the world is a better place if we live in it fully in the moment and mindful of this very moment and place.

If we will have the wisdom to survive,

to stand like slow-growing trees

on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,

if we make our seasons welcome here,

asking not too much of earth or heaven,

then a long time after we are dead

the lives our lives prepare will live

here, their houses strongly placed

upon the valley sides, fields and gardens

rich in the windows. The river will run

clear, as we will never know it,

and over it, birdsong like a canopy.

On the levels of the hills will be

green meadows, stock bells in noon shade.

On the steeps where greed and ignorance

            cut down

the old forest, an old forest will stand,

its rich leaf-fall drifting its roots.

The veins of forgotten springs will have


Families will be singing in their fields.

In the voices they will hear a music

risen out of the ground. They will take

nothing from the ground they will not


whatever the grief at parting. Memory,

native to this valley, will spread over it

like a grove, and memory will grow

into a legend, legend into song, song

into sacrament. The abundance of this


the songs of its people and its birds,

will be health and wisdom and indwelling

light. This is no paradisal dream.

Its hardship is its possibilities.

                                    ─Wendell Berry


When we discussed this poem, students understood that success is not always an easy journey. Some important aspects are the hard work and disappointments along the way. The word and phrase that caught their attention was “This is no paradisal dream. Its hardship is its possibilities.

Leadership Is a Conversation – Harvard Business Review

Leadership Is a Conversation – Harvard Business Review. Here is an excellent article form Harvard Business Review. Leading is about a conversation. Leaders need to recognize the importance of listening mindfully and attentively otherwise their role is one of management.

Are educators ready for this? Conversations are much harder work than using glib commentary.


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