“Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to…
— Carole King, “Where You Lead”
I have been thinking about leadership a lot recently, and Carole King’s old song from the 1960s came to mind, but I don’t think she’s talking about leadership; I think she’s singing about young hearts in love. If I am right, then perhaps following James Taylor “anywhere” wasn’t always the best idea for anyone. But let’s give JT lots of credit for fighting his demons and achieving long-term sobriety; perhaps he is a leader for many, after all.
I have aspired to be a leader most of my life.
I don’t know why. Maybe it is because of a need for recognition and affirmation from a young age. I was usually the student council rep from my class growing up. Looking back, I can’t remember a single thing we did as a Student Council other than to call for bake sales. I don’t even remember where that fundraising cash went. The library, one assumes, but who can recall? Not me. Regardless, I hope my leadership aspirations have been about something more worthwhile than ego gratification.
If you peruse my home bookshelf, you will find lots of books on leaders and leadership. I still keep many that I have read, including American Caesar (by William Manchester about Douglas MacArthur), War as I Knew It (George Patton), The Last Lion (Winston Churchill, all three volumes), Lee’s Lieutenants , Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and more. I have read books about Abraham Lincoln, Crazy Horse, George Custer, Lee Iacocca, Alan Greenspan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mother Teresa, and others. I’ve also read many of the books by Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie and John Maxwell. Interesting reads, all.
The good news is that I didn’t want to become these people so much as I was interested in studying them and learning about what they aspired to and what motivated them.
I still find history and biography as the most interesting in my literary diet.
So it is not altogether odd that I have been thinking of leadership recently, but it is also true that recent world events have me reflecting on what I consider a dearth of leadership in our nation and world. What really got me upset was a quote from a Pat Buchanan column. He said, “Not once in this century has the U.S. decisively won one of the wars it launched – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen or Libya.” Ref: WND online column dated August 9, 2021. I’m not giving you the link because I don’t want to give the impression that I am endorsing the political views of any broad-based editorial website, but you do have enough information to find it if you like.
I am certainly not surprised by being upset by Pat Buchanan. He upsets most of the people, but that doesn’t preclude him from being correct once in a while. (note: This is purely my opinion. My other opinion is that there isn’t a newspaper columnist alive worth arguing about, so let’s not.) But I, like so many Americans, am heartsick, angry, and a plethora of other emotions over the disastrous waste and tragedies in Afghanistan. There’s no need for partisan politics in our upset either; this mess was 20 years in the making, so both parties had a few hands in the mix. Anybody over 60 that watched the news stories and photos has to have experienced a feeling of déjà vu. So would anyone under 60 if we still read books in history classes, but now I’m just being snippy.
But now I find I’m almost at my word count limit for the monthly blog, and I haven’t even begun to start a sensible and relevant dissection of this topic. Let’s go with this: We need to follow and become worthy leaders whether we are building a life, a family, a business, a financial portfolio, a nation, a community, a church, or even a sewing circle.
Next month we can talk about who to follow and how to lead if you’re still interested.