If you are new to the series “Values that My Culture Taught Me,” I’d really appreciate if you would take a few minutes to read my preface and purpose here first and while you are at it, read the first article here, the second one here, and the third here. Welcome, friend.
There is a warrior somewhere in a woman’s heart.
(That’s not the word they use in church,
But it’s true.)
While she smiles sweet
And soothes ills,
She battles the demons of worry;
She slays the dragons of doubt,
That cause the child to wonder
“Am I lovable?”
And she shields these little ones from
A cruel, raging world.
“The hand that rocks the cradle
Rules the world,” claims the old Gospel song.
It begs the question,
“What is leadership anyway?”
Maybe it’s simply taking the authority that’s been given
By the King of Kings Himself
And turning ’round to the ones who follow,
Saying, “This is the way. Walk ye in it;”
Even if it’s only, the way to cross the street
(Look both ways),
Or the way to make others feel better when you hurt them
(Say sorry and mean it and give them a hug),
Or the way to grow healthy and strong
(Eat your veggies and meat, play hard, nap graciously, and thank the cook),
Most definitely, it’s showing them the way to pray
(Fold the hands, close the eyes, say “Our Father which art in heaven”).
Leaders make calls
And stick with them
Taking the blame when they’re the wrong calls.
Leaders rise early and work late,
Taking care that those who follow
Have a light on their path.
I’ve been called, in this season, to lead a team of teachers
Intervening for children who don’t learn “normally,”
(Whatever that is).
And because of this, I’ve been graced with the authority
To advocate between students and board members,
Between challenged students and their peers,
Between the homeroom teachers and the learning support ones.
I must step into the authority I’ve been given:
I must speak, or I will fail to lead.
But this grace—this authority—wears responsibility,
I must speak directly and graciously,
I must trust the motives of others, more than my own,
I must be patient and wait for those who lead me,
Not yielding to the temptation to manipulate
With my emotions and inside information.
It’s terrifying, humbling.
I dare not
Sister, you are also a leader
In subtle but powerful ways.
I know this poem’s theme is not a popular idea in our liberated world where people pay more for cleaning than for childcare, but I appreciate so much the value my culture gave me for children and those who care for them. Mothers, I would love to hear how you feel about your role. Is it easy to remember the high value of your often over-looked position of leadership?