March 2015 Archives

Servant Leadership

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What is servant leadership?

Robert Greenleaf, A Quaker who had worked in the corporate world (AT&T) for 38 years, came to believe that the primary role of a leader was to serve others. Taking his idea from Hermann Hesse's The Journey to the East, in which the servant Leo turns out to be the leader of a mythical journey, Greenleaf posited the following:

"A servant leader is one whose role is to enhance the well-being of those being served."

Many organizations took up these ideas in revamping how the relationship between employees and the institution took shape:

"The organization exists for the person as much as the person exists for the organization."

Stephen Covey identifies the following core values of a servant leader:

·       Active listening

·       Empathy

·       Healing

·       Awareness

·       Persuasion

·       Conceptualization

·       Foresight

·       Stewardship

·       Commitment to the growth of people

·       Community building

As we work with others, let's try on these principles. Let's also consider teaching servant leadership to students in our schools: how do we mentor this philosophy?


Parenting and technology

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Parenting and Technology: How Do I Manage Screen Time with My Children?

Technology is here to stay - that is a given - and if you are like me, the best way to try something new on your phone or tablet is to ask a 12 year old to explain it to you! Yet, we might also remember that every era in our evolving history of humankind has had threshold challenges. Socrates decried the introduction of reading into the education of youth, saying that the written word would ruin the culture of oral history and cause mental laziness and poor memories: go figure!

The Quaker idea that children are "growing into goodness" is a good place to start thinking about parenting - a place of optimism and hope. However, after watching my 7 year old grandchild play Minecraft for 45 minutes straight - without a break! - it can make me wonder: can this really be growing "goodness"?

Clearly there is a need for guidance here, and here are some simple suggestions:

1)     Know the risks about Internet safety. Understand that children can communicate with anyone through a variety of devices (like iTouch and iPad devices) and online games (like Minecraft and Club Penguin). Be clear about your own comfort level with online risks (preferably before your child starts using screens).

2)    Set rules for screen time based upon your family values. If you value appreciation of one another through face-to-face conversation around the dinner table then act accordingly. Make sure the parents turn off the screens, too!

3)    Be sure your child knows what has to happen before the screen goes on: physical exercise, homework, chores, and community service might be the sine qua non activities in your household.

4)    Know your options about passwords, privacy, parental controls, and access to screens. Remember that Facebook and Instagram are restricted to those 13 years old or older (thanks to the Children's Internet Protection Act). If you need help sorting this all out, talk to someone who knows about Internet safety or get more information online: is a good resource (check out their Family Contract for Online Safety).

Just like my parents wouldn't let us lock our bedroom doors or watch television all day, we can have some control over the ways in which our families use technologies. Part of the simplicity testimony involves moderation in all things - excess can be expressed through too much screen time as well as conspicuous consumption.

If you do not want to "parent" your children the culture is ready and willing to do it for you. Let's be loving and firm instead as we "let our lives speak" through our active parenting.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

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