Leaders, Elders, Contest & Free Stuff

Leaders, Elders, Contest & Free Stuff March 7, 2007

5-birds.jpgSimply make a comment on this post and you will be entered to win this original watercolor and ink painting of mine. The image size is 2.5″x3.5″, the official size of an ACEO. It is gallery-valued at $50. The contest closes Sunday midnight Atlantic time. You can comment as often as you like, but your name will only be entered into the draw once. The winner will be announced Monday morning. Have fun!

I’ve been thinking lots lately about terminology. For years our community has used the term “leader”, “leadership”, and “leadership team”. These terms do not belong in a community such as this anymore! “Leadership” gives the impression of directing others, telling them how to behave, someone in front of all the others, and that there is a goal to be strived for and conquered. It conjures up images of ambition, competition, manipulation, coercion, exploitation and success. It breeds discontentment for the present reality. It is based on a business model of people-management and is so strongly goal-oriented that it damages the beauty of what is. Love, in this milieu, is in danger of being used as a commodity to achieve the wishes of the visionary leaders.

I’m now thinking that we need to return to the word “elder”. It is old-fashioned, I know, but I think it better describes what community is about. “Elder” is not so much about movement outward towards a goal, but is more about growth and maturity. It is about responsibility, service and care. It is about acknowledging the hard-earned wisdom of someone who has a natural influence among the people that isn’t fabricated or artificial, but tangible and practiced. There is less danger of using people to achieve ends. Rather, people are respected as the end in themselves. Love, rather than a means to an end, becomes the end itself. These are my thoughts at the moment.

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