Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did.
Love is an action, not just a feeling. It is easy to say you love someone; it is much more difficult to show that love in your daily actions. To be the type of leader (and person) we need in our schools, love must come first. This means loving by actions, not just by words. Love means seeing people as people first and foremost; understanding and valuing each person as a unique individual who brings a special talent to the world.
In the busyness of home and work, it can be easy to lose sight of what is really important. We must put people first in our lives inside and outside of school. We need to show love as an action, not just say it in words!
The challenge with love is loving when it is not easy. As leaders, we need to give special attention to loving people even when we feel like they do not deserve it or warrant it because of their demeanor or actions. There is a saying that holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. As leaders we must be quick to love. Love is about me and my actions, not about others and their actions (or reactions). Other’s actions do not, nor should not, impact our concern for them. Changing our views of others based on their actions is solely about our feelings and frustrations, not about them. Sometimes we may try to shift the blame to the other person in the situation, but ultimately it is about us and our feelings and actions. Loving people cannot just apply in the good times, that is when love is easy. Love must also, and most importantly, be given unconditionally in the tough times as well.
A quick note, I do not want to confuse love and trust in this situation. Love must be unconditional, while trust is earned. I am sure anyone who works with, or lives with, teenagers understands this. I love my kids endlessly, but I do not always trust them as they are learning and growing through experiences. The same can be said for those we serve. True altruism, does not mean trust should be given blindly, or recklessly.
These ideas about loving people all the time can be difficult. We must want the people in our lives to be the best they can be at everything they do. The key is to not let our desires to help people “improve” push our motives too far. When we fail to love first, we can lose sight of the person in the process. We can move forward too fast, too soon, often losing sight of the fact that people are human, and they need time to grow and adjust. We look too much at the end goal of improvement and blind ourselves to the feelings that go along with the process for the sake of “getting better.” Instead of loving the person for who they are in the process, at that point, at that time, we can shift to judging them for who they are not.
This is why LOVE is so important to our mission as leaders and why it is the first, and most important, component of leading with L.E.S.S. We must focus on people first; valuing people for who they are, not what they do.
Love people. Two simple words that hold major implications about how I view people and my life’s work.
Over the next few posts, I will break down the components of what allows us to make love an action in our leadership and schools. Here are the ideas that will be shared in the next six posts.
- People First
- Removing Rational Thinking
- Correct, But Not Right
- High Expectations and Accountability
- Actions and Intentions
- Get What You Give
I hope you continue to join the journey!
Keep learning; keep growing; keep sharing!