March 9

Today's quotation:

Power isnít control at all--power is strength, and giving that strength to others.  A leader isnít someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his or her strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.

Beth Revis

Today's Meditation:

Some of the concepts that we've learned about as we've lived our lives get a bit warped by some people.  Power is one of those concepts--we very often consider it to be something that it's not.  Often we confuse influence with power--the simple fact that someone has influence over me, such as a boss or a teacher or an official does not mean that the person has power over me, and I don't need to give them that power.

If I want to lead, my job isn't to have power over others; rather, it's to help them to develop into the people they were meant to be.  Yes, there are goals and necessary outcomes to consider, and sometimes good leaders need to be somewhat tough with the people they lead (some of my students need harder pushes than others, for example), but as long as I keep in mind that as a leader my goal is to empower my students and not to make myself feel better, I can fairly safely depend on my motivation to help me to lead effectively and compassionately.

We say that my boss has power over me because he or she can fire me or punish me.  But that's simply an influence that I give to my boss by continuing to work at the same place.  Even if my boss fires me, that's not power over me--that's influence over one small aspect of my life.  And the person I am doesn't change one bit if I get fired; only some of my circumstances change, and what I do with those changes is completely up to me.

As leaders of our children, we have the power to create positive environments in which our children can thrive or negative ones that can hurt them.  As friends and colleagues, we have the power to be supportive, encouraging influences, or damaging, discouraging ones.  Our power lies not over the other people in our lives, but in what we do with our lives.

Take your power, own it, love it, and use it wisely.  That's the best thing that you can do for the other people in your lives, and it will be a wonderful contribution to this world of ours.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people seek "power" over others?

How might you use your power in positive ways?

How do you define "power"?

For further thought:

Part of the mythology that theyíve been teaching you is that you have no power.  Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit.  Power is in your soul.  It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you.  Power is in the earth; it is in your relationship to the earth.

Winona LaDuke

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