Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In this time of being . . . leading with love.

This past week I had the opportunity to hear a keynote address at a Lutheran development gathering by Marilyn Carlson Nelson, the former CEO of Carlson.  I am not sure I have ever listened so intently to a speaker.  I was riveted.  She spoke of her conviction to “lead with love” at every turn -- and to live each day with the determination that at the end of the day, like an artist, you would be proud to sign your name to it. 

I have been thinking about her words for four days, blending them with my favorite words, and seeing so many threads to our life with Empowering Learners.

We’re excited about the good work of this project.  But what prompted us to respond in this way?  I know for a fact that we felt called.  That we felt here we can make a difference.  Somewhere along the line did love enter the equation?  Was it love we felt for those deserving learners so far away with whom we connected so quickly?  Was it love the whole time and we just labeled it differently?  Can we sign our names each day to this project saying today we made a difference?  We have lofty goals.  We do wonder, or worry, (every day!) about how it will be as we bring 20 laptops, 50 calculators, and even more educational materials to Namibia this summer.  Will the customs process work again for us?  Will we once again have smooth sailing?  Will we make our goal and endow this project for the future?  On many days I think we take a step forward, and on some other days we take three giant leaps ahead and I guess we really do sign our names boldly at the end of those days. 

Ethan and I have set our hearts on this mission, and I guess we have stepped forward, in our own way, to lead with love – for the learners and teachers in the ELCIN.  Mrs. Nelson has given me a new window through which to see our efforts.  Previously I might have used the words "fairness" or "hope" or "faith" or "empowerment" to first describe the impetus for our project.  But now I am pretty sure it was love -- it is the greatest of these! -- because I can surely say my heart is full.    

Mrs. Nelson ended her talk by ever so gently embracing the favorite idiom for the time being.  “Indeed” she said, “in this time . . . BE  . . . and lead with love.”

Thank you for being in this time with us and may we together sign our name to this day! 

Empowering Learners. 

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