We played some great games when we were kids, I’ll tell you. Steal the Bacon. Red Rover. Hide and Seek. Tag. Oh how we played.
One that we never seemed to linger on much, was Follow the Leader. For those of you who don’t know the game…. the premise is this:
First a leader or “head of the line” is chosen. How we picked this person was pretty random. Then everybody would all line up behind the leader. The leader would move around and everybody would have to mimic the leader’s actions. And…. if you failed to do what the leader did… whelp…. you were out of the game. It would whittle down to one player. And because all the other players had made big mistakes… the last person standing became the new leader.
Nobody really liked the game. You just aimlessly followed somebody… doing exactly as they did… or said. And if you didn’t …. you were out. Removed from the game. Don’t let the doorknob hit you in the toosh.
And here we are now. Adults.
These days, we willfully look for someone to lead us. To lead our country, our business, our book club, or our church. With the upcoming Presidential Inauguration, this seems to be a hot topic.
So what makes a great leader of a country? Really? Winning wars? Gaining world power? Strengthening our borders against all who are not “us”? Or does a great leader work for resolutions which result from finding common ground, likenesses, integrity, honesty. Do they search to find a path to peace?
The very least I expect from a leader, is for that person to have a commitment to the betterment of humanity. This means acting with a strong moral compass. To lead with fairness, and consideration for all. And so much more. Honesty, decency, honor, high principles.
Abraham Lincoln? Mahatma Gandhi? Nelson Mandela? Asoka? George Washington? Martin Luther King Jr? Jesus?
I didn’t like the “Follow the Leader” game when I was a kid. I saw no good reason to follow around someone, shadowing their every move… be it the stomping the feet…. or clucking like a chicken. It made no sense to me to follow, just because I was supposed to follow.
To follow mindlessly, still, makes no good sense to me.
And this certainly, is no game.
“To lead people, walk beside them …
As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.
The next best, the people honor and praise.
The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate …
When the best leader’s work is done the people say,
We did it ourselves!”
― Lao Tzu