December 15, 2018

Vulnerability: A Trait of Healthy Leadership

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Alice Vanderkooy and I have had many discussions this week with our Haitian leaders (ambassadors) of CRECH.  One group exercise was asking who they remembered as both a "firm" and "fair" person in their life.  (Restorative practice is based on relationships that are both firm and fair.)  As  the characteristics of this person were described, vulnerability came up as one of the traits.  This suggestion triggered a very interesting debate.

The person who suggested vulnerability described it as the ability to admit mistakes, make things right and the ability to ask for forgiveness.  Most of our leaders were not sure about this....it wasn't a characteristic that they had wrested with.  As the week went on, our group devotions (led by our Haitian brothers and sisters) focused on humility, forgivenss and Jesus' amazing ability to ask questions of people without judging them.

The beautiful thing about restorative practices is the simplicity of using questions (What happened?; What were you thinking?; Who's been affected?; What needs to happen to make things right?) to allow people to tell their stories and take responsibility for their actions.  As our Haitian colleagues practiced using these questions both in the training and at home with their spouses/children and friends during the week, they were excited to see how their relationships were deeper and more forgiving in the midst of conflict.  It was humbling to see their joy and enthusiasm.

In our final check-out circle of the week (we all stand and pass the talking piece to share something), one of the oldest men who had been a leader/pastor/principal for many years shared that he had forgotten that his faith should bring him to his knees.  He intended to ask for forgiveness from his children/wife and anyone else to whom he had been harsh rather than loving.  He thought that being a leader meant that he had to have all the answers and that he didn't have to listen.  It brought many tears to peoples' eyes!  What a relevation!  What humility and what vulnerability!

Thank you to all who have prayed for us this week!  We have been touched again by the powerful bond of Christ that unites all his followers!  

 

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