One of my favorite quotes for organizational development comes from Canadian poet Stephen Leacock. He wrote about a fellow who “flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions.” Stop for a moment to visualize the attitude and the imagery! This quote provides a good starting point for discussing the working relationships, organization, and leadership needed to avoid such wild behavior.
Sadly, and in spite of posturing to the contrary, much of our political leadership and national news media seem more interested in cultivating a divisive neighbor vs neighbor mentality rather than speaking the whole truth or serving a common good. This kind of leadership sets us up to ride madly off in all directions. A comical image if it were not so counterproductive. So, what can we do?
First, with various 2022 elections coming up later this year, please think twice before voting to re-elect any incumbents. Do the candidates have any tangible record of achievement in serving the electorate, or is it all words? There is a big difference in specificity between “we solved this problem” and “I fought for you on the right side of history blah blah blah.” Did they create solutions or did they create bureaucratic paperwork? Did they lead and serve, or did they divide and manipulate?
Second, if you don’t like the leadership or what they produce, maybe you should consider volunteering in your community, taking a more active role in your organization, or even running for office. (Many Christians forget that Jesus gave His disciples two prayers to pray: 1) the Lord’s prayer, and 2) to ask God to raise up workers for the harvest. We don’t seem to pray that second one as often as the first. Maybe we are afraid that God would raise us up for service, religious or otherwise?)
Third, remember that the us vs them mentality we hear about so often from the political and media types may be a feature rather than a bug in their leadership style. It may be a desired perception rather than a reflection of reality. The hair-on-fire tone we hear in the news somehow does not reflect the sense of community that we can see with our own eyes in our neighborhoods, business districts, churches, parks, and restaurants. Indeed, there are genuine needs all around us, but the sense of community we see as neighbors help neighbors is reassuring!
Last but not least, remember who is in charge. It is not ultimately the politicians or the talking heads. We can vote, we can turn off the hair-on-fire news, and we can bring our concerns and needs to the Living God who is actually in charge of all. Food for thought, and for encouragement.
One thought on “Rode madly off in all directions…”
Excellent observations – I’m grateful you posted this.