Pessimism is a difficult burden to bear when your natural tendency is vital optimism. The realist in me can see where this unbearable division and nastiness leads us. Stop and think for a moment: what kind of future are we leaving for our children?
We are recklessly creating a legacy that will be a burden too difficult for our children to bear. The bonds and institutions that once held our fragile communities together will be nothing but rubble if we do not change course soon.
Have you noticed how fatigued people are? I hope we are not naive to simply think this is the result of the long winter of COVID-19 or just the result of a nasty election we will soon get over. This weariness is a settled, discouraging despair, an “I give up” kind of fatigue. This is not the kind of weary that one just snaps out of at some point.
Ordinary people are ready to quit: their social media activity, community groups, schools, churches, and even families. We have moved from being annoyed by that one goofy relative to actively shunning and publicly mocking them.
The most worrisome trend I see is that the leaders of our institutions (ie government, education, nonprofits, houses of worship, businesses, etc) are ready to throw in the towel.
Leading has always been a difficult task full of complex and precarious decisions. The weight of leading in ordinary times is usually heavy. Surviving as you are taking enemy and friendly fire is another matter.
Just about every educator, pastor, nonprofit executive, and politician I know has had it. Some have privately confessed to me that they would walk away if they could. Others have told me stories of how they witnessed other leaders break down in tears. In one private exchange, an executive told me how she was being barraged by both the conservatives and progressives in her organization. Another leader confessed the weight of his fears that his organization is hemorrhaging and that this institutional demise will be his legacy.
Exhausted, beat up, despairing leaders should be a cause of deep concern for our communities. These leaders are the people who are guiding the institutions that have held our fragile bonds together. If our leaders are all looking for a way out it…