Over the last decade or more there has been much talk about leadership development for the reason that "Who will lead our countries after the current generation of leaders pass away?" Leadership is important because without it people do whatever they like (cf. Judges chapter 21, verse 25).
Yet, the selection of a leader can be difficult when the ideal of what a leader should is so high that there are no worthy candidates. Consequently, the choice comes down to the lesser of the two evils; and this is most true in political races. However, in watching the Rio Olympics 2016, there is hope for the world when leadership can emerge even from athletes.
The Political Race
Since 2015 many people across the world have been keeping abreast with the presidential race of the United States of America. Even though islanders of the Caribbean are having challenges with their own governmental officials, the people are more engaged in the debate of who should be the next POTUS- former First Lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton or Real Estate mogul Donald Trump.
According to John C Maxell, true leaders are able to influence personal or national change and development. Nevertheless, in a race for leadership, reputation like any good card game trumps all efforts of winning.
In the card game 'President' when the Deuce of Spade is played it alters the results of the game. At one instance, one player may be in the lead – he has two high cards in his hand; after two turns he would be the sure winner. Yet, the player before him plays the trump card and prevents him from making his next move.
In a presidential race, trump cards may be broken court records that were sealed for decades, or noble deeds splashed across the media, all of which affect the emotions and attitudes of the electorate. But all these histories detract from what is important in choosing a leader.
A presidential race may last for months or even a year, of which candidates may run toe-to-toe. Yet, at the finish line there will only be one winner. The people must choose a leader; and when they do decide, they will take into consideration the candidates' past and personalities. But most importantly, they must assess the policies their potential leaders will enact.
Some leaders make promises they cannot keep: they may have the potential and the will to make these ideals a reality; however, just as in athletics men and women represent their countries on the world stage; ultimately politicians represent the interests of their parties. As such, eventually, they may implement policies that were not originally in their platform. What can the nation do at this point? Only what should have been done at the start – pray for their leaders.
The Athletic Race
Aside from the presidential race in the USA, the world stood still in the month of August in anticipation of Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce journey towards accomplishing what no man or woman has done before – three consecutive gold medals (100m, 200m, 4x100) at the Olympic Games (2008-2012-2016).
There was much debate: would Bolt win his race in Rio with previous Olympic gold medallist Justin Gatlin of the USA as a contender? Gatlin clocked the world best time throughout the season (9.80) while Bolt (9.88) was newly recovered from a hamstring injury which surfaced two months before the Olympics. Nevertheless, Bolt emerged as the Greatest of All Time by achieving his tri-peat.
Race of Lifetime
Bolt's feat in Rio has proven that with consistent training and strong determination one can accomplish great things. Bolt's race was not a single event but a lifelong journey towards becoming a legend. Bolt acknowledged his potential but put in the hard work to attain this goal.
His achievements evoke such questions in his followers: What am I doing with my potential?What purpose am I striving towards in this race of life? Legends are leaders: whether deceased or alive, they have the ability to inspire people to pursue greater things in life, only because they have overcome impossibilities.
What is significant about this type of leadership is that the inspired are those who benefit the most. In the race of life, every human being has his own lane; he may look ahead at those in front; but once he runs the race set out before him he can win, by accomplishing what he started.
A Platform of Inspiration
The Olympics is the occasion where men and women from around the globe represent the prowess of their countries. Yet, some athletes: Yohan Blake Veronica Campbell Brown and Simone Manuel used their accomplishments as a platform to elevate the Source of their abilities.
Local governments may provide moral or financial support for their athletes but ultimately they need the blessing of God to win. Yet, winning is not always coming first in a race. Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce did not achieve a tri-peat win at Rio 2016.
As this was a year of great expectation it was also a great trial for SFP who battled a toe injury from the start of the season.
But in the midst of her adversity SFP determined that to win on the track she must win off the track thus developing the platform – "His Will." She understood that maintaining faith in God is where we win the race and it is this faith and attitude that encouraged her fans to remain humble and devoted when the results are not what one would hope.
The Next Leader
Leaders can be found in the most unlikely places and we often look for leadership in others when the next leader is really who God has called us to be. As we anticipate the results of the presidential race of America and look forward to the 2020 Olympics, we must never forget to develop the leader within.
Janine Williams is a theology student, passionate about the word of God which is powerful to transform the lives of individuals and nations.
Janine Williams' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/janine-williams.html