The following blog post is the expressed opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.
Learning From A Shepherd
After thirty-five years in the military and twenty years in business, I find myself team teaching leadership to high school seniors. January sixth was a challenging moment to handle all their questions. But as a person of faith, I naturally turned to prayer to guide my responses to their questions. An idea came to thought from a poem by the Discover of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. The poem begins, “Shepherd, show me how to go o’er the hillside steep…”. Responding to this guidance, I quoted from the King James version of the Bible from Gospel of Mark: “Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.”
My challenge to these students was to have them look deeply into the qualities of this great shepherd to see how he led and why people of diverse backgrounds followed him? After a couple of weeks of instruction and discussion, I asked them to share inspiration and gratitude they had gained. Imagine my thrill when someone read” The Hill We Climb” written by Ms. Amanda Gorman, the National Youth Poet Laureate which she read at the Presidential Inauguration. Her beautiful poem included the line “If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy in change, our children’s birthright.” Love is a leadership quality. In Henry Drummond’s book, The Greatest Thing In The World, he tells the reader that love has nine ingredients that should be universally shared: patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness, good temper, guilelessness, sincerity. Our leadership class agreed that Ms. Gorman’s poem included all these enduring leadership characteristics.
Can we substantially learn from others? Many would place me in a category of being “over the hill” and would call the teenagers I work with as “immature”. But one of the tenets of my religion states “And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure.” Daniel was a teenage shepherd while Moses was at the other end of the spectrum, yet both were leaders who let God speak through them to others.
People of faith can find the opportunity to share and to bless. I know I was blessed when my student recognized the gifts and wisdom of Amanda Gorman and was inspired to embrace these same leadership (shepherding) qualities with the class.