I recently looked up three words in the dictionary. They were leader, responsibility and arrogance. Webster defines each as thus:
Leader: One who guides or is in command: one who is in position of influence
Responsibility: Accountable for one’s actions
Arrogant: Excessively and unpleasantly self important
There is an experience in our society called the “Aha!” phenomenon. It’s a moment that becomes an epiphany, a revelation, a “come to Jesus experience.” It’s that time when the little light goes on in your head and you say, “Aha! I finally got it.”
In the sixth grade I had the first of many “come to Jesus experiences.” After Christmas break, I entered the classroom with a new hairdo – double parted on the side, flipped up on the top, combed down the middle with a ducktail in the back. It was 1957 and the look was “cool.”
It lasted all of 10 minutes. A 4-foot-11-inch tall nun named Sister Hilaire pulled me out of that room before I could even get “good morning” out of my mouth. She paraded me in front of the class and out the door. Before that door could close behind her, she had her finger in my chest giving me a lecture on leadership and choices. “People look up to you Robert,” she said. “You are a leader whether you like it or not and because of that there are responsibilities that go along with the role. I will not have this hairdo in my classroom.” She left me standing alone to make my decision. I accepted my role and sheepishly returned to my desk. Aha! I got it. A lesson learned.
Some years later going into my senior year in high school I had another such moment, this time with my football coach, a fiery redheaded Irishman who could bring you to your knees with a lashing of his tongue. We had a 20-game win streak going into the season. I was captain of the team, an All Conference and All State running back, held all the school records and humbly accepted the role as the “second coming.” It was a “heady” time for me and showed in my performance, or should I say lack of performance on the practice field.
I was going through the motions until reality set in. Reality came in the form of that redhead I mentioned earlier. In front of the team he mocked my self-importance, ridiculed my proud disdainful behavior, and pointed out there was no room for arrogant behavior on his team. To me personally he said, “You’re a leader on this team and you aren’t showing it. Get your s#@t together before I bench you.” Oh yeah, another aha moment. Lesson learned.
It has been said that we will continue to repeat the same mistakes until we learn our lesson. Don’t be arrogant! Let NaVOBA help you accept the responsibility to be the leader you need to be.