Dr. King: A True Servant Leader

As an educator I was touched by this timeless Huffington Post article from Mr. James Perry, once mayoral candidate, and the the Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center:
"Among the most important lessons I've learned from Dr. King is the example of servant leadership. A servant leader is one who offers an inclusive vision; listens carefully to others; persuades through reason; and heals divisions while building community.
It is easy to spot servant leaders. In a room where others are jockeying for attention, they are the ones listening to someone others might consider unimportant. When faced with a problem, they look for solutions that benefit everyone. When something goes wrong, they take the blame. When things go well, they share the credit. They tell everyone the same story, even when it is inconvenient or difficult. They know that they don't have all the answers, so they seek advice from others. They work hard and inspire others to do the same.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is an example of a servant leader. His life shows the extraordinary power of servant leadership to radically transform a nation. Our communities and our country need servant leadership more than ever. Deepening economic woes threaten the American dream for far too many working people. Racial divisions are embarrassingly persistent in too many aspects of our economic and social lives. Political despair is battering the uniquely American optimism that has made us a great nation.
There are precious few servant leaders in our current political environment. Many elected officials are more interested in personal power, individual legacy, and financial gain than in the sacrifice and commitment that servant leadership requires."
@JamesHPerry  
Powerful words.
   
As educators, we have the honor to teach the next generation of servant leaders. It is our job, duty, and privilege to instill in them the passion to effect change and the empathy to think outside themselves. To inspire them to think not of "me" but of "we." We also must model these values and these practices for our students.
All educators, indeed, all school staff, must work together to model and teach teens that taking responsibility for our lives gives us total power in creating the kind of life we want for ourselves. Taking personal responsibility and thinking of the community. Over the years I've seen our students rally to raise funds for the Hurricane Katrina victims, Haiti relief, and yearly for our Howard County Grassroots Crisis campaign - helping the underprivileged and at risk in our community. I am proud of our kiddos, we've done well...but we can always do better!
Which brings me back full circle as to why I posted the words from page 333 of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secret on our library wall this year:
"It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" ~ Albus Dumbledore


More inspiring words on responsibility:
“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility.” Albert Einstein
“It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.” Sophocles
“A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.” Denis Waitley
from 7 Timeless Thoughts on Taking Responsibility for Your Life  

Our fight for social justice, equality, fairness, and kindness to all people, goes on - inspired by his legacy. Let's be inspired by the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr not just on his birthday - but every day - throughout the year!

Here's the video we played on #MHTVNews this morning. It came from, of all places, WWE.
And here's a wonderful article by GlobalMindedEd:

If MLK Were Alive Today, What Would He Ask of Us?

Kelvin Garvanne, an Emmy Award Winning Television Host and Writer and Technical Writer for U.S. Military Training Exercises
Dr. Martin Luther King would ask us to commit ourselves to fighting to uphold the innate worthiness of each human being in America and on Earth.
Years battling for equality have not achieved the goal of social justice. Therefore, Dr. King would demand we look at each other and recognize our humanity inherently makes us worthy of enjoying basic human conditions that sustain our lives. Dr. King would say the struggle to recognize worthiness is more relevant than legal battles to legislate equality.
Martin Luther King Jr. would look America squarely in its collective face and ask why we have not solved the problems of racism, militarism, and capitalism.
Martin Luther King Jr. would ask why we have not agreed that every human being is worthy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Dr. King would admit the attempt to legislate equality was ill fated and doomed to fail because the myth of America had overtaken its reality. Dr. King would urge Americans to recognize each of us is worthy of inalienable rights and that should be the focus of our battle for social justice.
Dr. King would ask elected officials where is there moral courage. Why is their commitment restricted to their constituents and not every human being who is, or aspires to be, an American?
Finally, Martin Luther King, Jr. would ask us what have we learned and why does it appear we have forgotten history's lessons; or have conceded defeat in the struggle to uphold America's founding principles."





(This was originally posted on the MHMS Media Blog: Martin Luther King, Jr: A True Servant Leader Jan 18, 2010 and on the Daring Librarian Blog here in 2013.  I have pretty much posted a variation of this every other if not every year. I think we need it most right now.)

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