I've been reading a lot lately about leaders like Robert F. Kennedy and Harvey Milk. Both were very different from one another, but there were characteristics about both men that can inspire us all to step up to the plate and make a difference.
Milk and Kennedy seemed to have a call towards compassion for the under privileged. Kennedy was not just the brother of a President and former Attorney General of the United States. He was raised in a very well to do family and yet he's known as one of history's greatest advocates for the civil rights movement; championing for the privileges of the less fortunate. What would poses someone to do that instead of leaning on luxury?
Harvey Milk ran unsuccessfully for political office three times before he won a title, but that didn't stop him from working hard for people he didn't know and leading others in a new direction. Clearly he was propelled to make things better. (Who or what are you living your life for?)
Both men seized opportunity and made their own opportunities. Sometimes people are in the right place at the right time and make the most of it. Other times folks create chances to give back, invest, and serve. Whether it was rallying people together for a common cause or giving speeches to inspire, they took most every chance to change. (How do you make the most of every situation in serving?)
If there is one thing Kennedy and Milk had it common, it was that they sacrificed their time, treasure, and loved ones for a greater idea. How many times have we heard it said, "Put your money where your mouth is."? Clearly these too did just that! It looks as if they gave their lives for the things they believed. In fact, they were both assassinated whilst doing what they believed in. (What have you sacrificed for?)
I often run into people who are worried about their future or how others see them. I guess we all have those types of concerns. I was taught that we can alleviate those anxieties by putting others before us. That's not to say that we ignore our shortcomings or responsibilities; rather we take all those things that make up our lives into perspective with the challenges and issues that face others.
Where are our Kennedy's and Milk's of today? Yes, we have some great examples of leadership in our world, but I'm talking more on the individual stage. Not all of us get to be and author or president, but we can lead. Who are you leading? Are you more of a follower? Do you want to be a follower? God knows there are a lot of issues that need our help in this world. What are you doing about it?
I think both Milk and Kennedy would tell you they weren't who they were or did what they did for the glory or attention. Clearly they were tired of the status quo. What would you like to see changed in this world? Who are you leading toward a greater life? Like these two men, the choice is up to you.