This Week's Story

Which leader would you choose? Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Angela Merkel, Enrique Peña Nieto, Donald Trump, or Queen Elizabeth

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Leadership! You choose. part one

Some leaders count the fleas on their cats. Some buy cat flea collars. Some request help on Twitter. Whatever their leadership style, leaders are here and the source of discussion nationally. Their approach may be top-down, or down-up, or up-down-up.

My high school principal, Mr. Mike Gilmore, did not live behind a locked office door. He was available to the people with whom he worked. He was a down-up man. I watched him respect and listen to staff and students. Often, he made decisions that reflected what he had heard. His decisions affected the work climate for everyone on campus.

One morning when I awoke, my voice was a whisper. Not even a croak was possible. I walked into Mr. Gilmore’s office and whispered, “Mike, I want to be at school today, but my voice is a mess. My senior students are completing an important project and they may have questions for me. I don’t want their focus upset, or their paper turn-in to be confusing.

“Will you arrange for me to have a substitute who will be with me in my classroom? The person can be my voice to the students.”

“I can do that, Barbara. Are you sure you feel well enough?”

“Yes, and thank you!”

Another day I went to Mike’s open door and said, “Mike, I have a problem.”

“Come in.”

“Two students made a video, Mike, which is part of a unit with many assignments. They ignored guidelines, and demonstrated clever creativity with brazen crudity. I think the video deserves an F or possibly a D-. Would you watch it and share your response to it?”

He did so, and we discussed the grading challenges. He was tougher than I, but not once did he tell me what to do.

At another school there was a different leadership style. A department chairman arranged for a substitute to cover her classes for one day while she observed two classrooms in her department. Both classrooms were having problems.

While she was observing one class, she was asked to come to the office. Her principal informed her, “We can’t be paying a substitute, if you’re here on campus. You have to go home!” He showed no trust in her judgment, and she spent the remainder of the day at home.

George Washington was a pivotal national leader, as Commander-in-Chief of the American Continental military forces during the Revolutionary War, and the first president of the United States. His commitment to the soldiers he led, the nation he served, and God, caused people to seek his leadership.

When thousands of American soldiers escaped across the East River in small boats, General Washington was in the last boat to cross. His safety was not his primary concern.

When he led 11,000 soldiers into spending winter at Valley Forge, none knew that about 2,000 of them would die from disease, cold, and starvation. Through their suffering, many endured because Washington endured. Each day he rode among the men doing his best to encourage them, though Congress failed to deliver necessary clothing, food, and supplies. He was convinced that their fight for freedom was just and that God would deliver them.

Wherever leadership is exercised, trust and respect are essential.

This is Barbara Steiner. Please return for part two in Leadership! You choose.

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