Leadership of hope
It has been said, “Men can live forty days without food, four days without water, and four minutes without air, but we cannot live four seconds without hope.” It is unfortunate that we live in adverse times. Last May the New York Times reported that suicides were on the rise due to the stress of the economic downturn and the widespread availability of prescription painkillers. The article also hinted that deeper issues, like failed expectations and a loss of hope, might be a root cause for the increase in suicidal rates, according to Tara Parker-Pope, in a published an article “Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.,” May 2 in The New York Times
As sad as this reality is, the Army is a unique organization that deals with suicidal behavior through leaders at all levels reaching out to those who struggle by instilling a sense of hope. John Maxwell, an author, thinker, and minister supports this idea.
He wrote, “ Leaders are meant to help others become the people God created them to be. They are called to discover the hidden, encourage the uncertain, develop the untrained, and empower the powerless. They are gifted to mine the gems. Never forget that Jesus looked at an impulsive, uneducated fisherman named Simon and saw a diamond in the rough. Jesus even called him Peter the rock.”
Charles Dickens, author of the classic Christmas novel, “A Christmas Carol” tells the story of a disgruntled man named Ebenezer Scrooge. Ebenezer is embittered by the loss of his business friend Jacob Marley. As Ebenezer sleeps he is visited by his old friend in a dream warning him to change his unkindness to kindness. That same night he is visited by three ghosts – the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Each ghost reveals a little more of what Ebenezer Scrooge was, is, and will be if he does not change. After being led through a number of somber visions Ebenezer awakes a new man. He is kind to his nephew, and his employees, and proclaims to all, “Merry Christmas, God bless them everyone.”
With a joyous season commanders, noncommissioned officers, chaplains, and leaders can facilitate change in the down trodden of the Army’s greatest asset, our Soldiers.