Writing and Leadership…a necessary skill!

I receive daily emails from the Henri Nouwen Society (henrinouwen.org).  The emails comprise one or two very short paragraphs of something Henri wrote.  He is no longer alive, but his words continue to inspire and create ‘pause’ in the lives of many people, including myself.

This morning I was struck by “Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories.”  When I think of leadership and teaching leadership skills, Henri’s words provide us with yet another tool to use.  Writing is a tool for leadership building.  Henri even goes on to say:  “…writing can become lifesaving for us and sometimes for others too.”  Developing leadership skills in students and staff calls us to develop the skills of concentration, compassion, artistic expression, and memory.  I have found the writings of others powerful and life changing.  Often, I have read something almost by accident and discovered it was exactly the words I needed to hear at the moment.

Leadership building needs the skills and gifts writing can bring us.  As educators, we may take for granted our role of language arts teacher.  It’s just what we do.  Not so.  I believe, like Henri, it is paramount for the development and formation of all young leaders.

Leadership and Caring

Leadership in the classroom begins with the teacher.  As an educator, each one is called to be a physical example to those wonderful children sitting in front of us.  This is certainly not always easy, especially when children come to us with situations from home causing them stress and pain.  Real life can be extremely hard on children.  Teachers, despite these struggles, are called to invite students to be their best.  What happens when students simply cannot get past the pressures surrounding their lives?  Often, a hand on the shoulder, a smile or a word of encouragement can make a huge difference on a specific day.  Sometimes, right off the bus it is obvious a child is coming to school with concerns and pressures unbeknown to the teacher.  Many children simply ‘don’t want to talk about it’.  As educators, we are called to push through the pressures we see on the faces of our students.  Many days we are successful, and for many we simply cannot get through to what students may need.  Unfortunately, parents may never see the kind of support their child(ren) might be receiving.  What is really clear is the need for caring.  Beyond any type of strategy or technique, the simple choice to care for children as they grow and struggle is all we can do.  How are you being a leader of caring?