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.