I Marched, I Protested, I Posted a Snarky Meme ... Now What?
3 Ways That Students Can Turn Outrage Into Leadership
Anger often burns white hot in the moment but is not sustained over time. Like it or not, it is just a matter of time before we focus our attention elsewhere and the tragedy and outrage of the past two weeks are a memory. Whether it’s media advertisements, political pandering or social media clout, our attention is a commodity and the tragically senseless murder of another human being will be put squarely in the rear-view mirror the moment it no longer garners enough clicks.
The emerging generation of students has the unique opportunity to transform into real leaders, taking this moment of outrage and utilizing it for lasting societal change. Moments of crisis amplify the need for good leadership, and students wisely see a dearth of that needed leadership at the moment. Members of both political parties in the United States continue to value personal attacks and self-preservation over all else. They feign concern if and when there is a perceived value (and a camera ready).
Students are in the position to fill this leadership vacuum and affect lasting change through the following means.
Serve Others (Volunteer)
It’s one thing to march because of passion in the moment, but any real change will be an ongoing work in progress. Once the cameras are put away and protests are no longer deemed news worthy, the needs of many will still be present. Teaching and leading others through service is fundamental to change. Placing the emphasis on the well being of others is a most effective means of transformation.
Model Empathy (Courage)
Students have the incredible opportunity and capacity to utilize Stephen Covey’s 5th habit of high effective people – “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
In putting this habit into practice we often discover connection, compassion and ultimately common ground. Being self-aware enough to recognize, own and work through personal bias allows for effective communication and improved decision making. The emerging generation has shown the willingness to hear others. The true test of their leadership will be seen in their ability to understand and implement personal change.
Create Opportunity (New Reality)
Will the events of 2020 create a new reality or simply become a novel history lesson? This is the question that current students are in the powerful position to answer. In an age when attention spans are measured in fractions of seconds, will the emerging generation have the staying power to create opportunities for themselves and those that come after them? Creating opportunity means doing more than repackaging the status quo. It means looking beyond political saviors that will pander to and co-op their values and beliefs just enough to satisfy an agenda and paint themselves as a savior. It means becoming a generation of business leaders, teachers, doctors and influencers that as Simon Sinek would say ‘advance rather than simply compete.’
And right now, we desperately need to advance.
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