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Learning and leading

By Tonya S. Swindell

Learning and leading go hand in hand. We begin to value others when we seek to understand. Others’ views and opinions may not be our own. But they give us greater insight into another person’s road.

When we learn and lead, it begins to make more sense how our words and actions could easily cause offense. When we choose to operate in a spirit of forgiveness, our attitudes change and impact our decisions. When we pause and listen, we begin to comprehend how kindness and compassion can cause a heart to mend.

When we learn and lead, we engage in conversations that strengthen our resolve and improve our relations. When we listen to people’s stories and hear about their pain, we notice similarities and how we’re really quite the same. As we grow in empathy, we begin to see the need to respect one another’s boundaries and be accountable for our deeds.

When we learn and lead we research our own history, then the source of our pain no longer remains a mystery. When we become bold enough to tell our own story, introspection and reflection become mandatory. Others may follow suit and do as we do while bridging a gap to this common truth: that we all have a life that has caused us heartaches and we desire to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

Learning helps us lead with greater transparency, an open heart, an open mind and awareness of our inadequacy. When we get to know others and they get to know us, we learn to get along, not discriminate or show bias. When we share our hearts while revealing our deepest need, we quickly recognize our shared tendency to bleed.

Learning about others is definitely not easy. It requires patience, sincerity and vulnerability. If we’re intentional about learning and do so willingly, the process can bring about a great amount of healing.

When we learn and lead, we create a more perfect union of people with differences that are dedicated to the common good. Learning gives us grace to love instead of hate, while leading gives us the power to change and advocate. When our learning and leading is all said and done, our hope is that individuals come together as one.

Learning about others doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It occurs over time as our relationships tend to bloom. Our efforts to know others can extend beyond our comfort zone to unfamiliar people that were previously considered unknown.

Conversations that take place can broaden our perspective, cause listeners to hear and become more reflective. People can talk about the depth of their experience. They can bring greater clarity to events that once caused fear.

As we learn and lead we make a very strong statement, that we value relationships more than one’s political affiliations. By being more invested in conversations that heal us, we build stronger bonds that deepen our levels of trust. As we learn to see life from another person’s side, may we lead by example and give peace a try.

TONYA SWINDELL is an occupational therapist. She is also a teacher for Kingdom Building Institute (kingdombuildinginstitute.org). She can be reached at tonyathewriter1@gmail.com.