By Edgar Bazan and Kimone Paley, Mayor’s Star Council Class 2016-2017.
“I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
Leadership, a powerful word through which we can profit, empower, contribute, encourage and serve others depending on the intention behind the desire to lead. Intentions are not easy to discern, and sadly many times we empower individuals to lead that do not have the best interest of the other in mind, but personal profit. Hence, one of the greatest and challenging tasks of our time is to identify, mentor and empower good leaders. I used to believe that good leaders were the most charismatic, skillful and influential people in our midst, and I would recruit accordingly. Although these characteristics are not self-excluding of good leaders, they are just the facade. It took me a little while to discern that to identify good leaders one must look beyond what is apparent and pay attention to the character.
What differentiates good leadership from other types is the character of the individual. Good leaders share the common characteristics of being trustworthy, compassionate, mature and with a hopeful vision for the future. Leadership for them is not a means to profit, but an opportunity and responsibility to contribute to the well-being of others. Good leaders assume power with responsibility and vision for the future, and they serve where there is a need regardless of whether there is profit or not.
Where can we find good leaders? I believe they are found busy serving where there is an opportunity to contribute to a cause greater than themselves. That is their ultimate goal. Good leaders leave a legacy of contribution that does not necessarily translate as a personal success, but a lasting impact on those that benefit from their service.
The Mayor’s Star Council consists of dependable and responsible leaders that are taking the responsibility to learn and address the needs of our communities to lead today for the sake of the other. Each of these men and women have a proven record that makes them uniquely gifted to undertake the dreams of tomorrow and work for them today. We know this is not a “solo” task, and we are linking arms with like-minded individuals across the city to work hard for our communities. We are shovel-ready. Literally. Take for example the following occasion.
On Saturday, November 5th, 2016, we got together for a Tree Planting Service project with GrowSouth Americorps VISTA. We arrived to Cedar Crest Church of Christ (2134 Cedar Crest Blvd, Dallas, TX 75203) on a brisk Saturday morning. The city's arborist provided us instructions on how we should and shouldn't plant the crepe myrtles and elm trees. In total, we planted about 67 trees/shrubs. And, while planting the trees, we learned information about the city's program that provides them, how it came into existence, and how one could join the program as a volunteer. Of course, this was not easy work, it took a lot of teamwork but we got it done.
In a very nice experience, homeowners came out and assisted us with the digging and planting as well. Some neighbors provided us snacks and drinks, and everyone was appreciative and thankful for planting these trees and shrubs that will continue to grow and illustrate the great history of the Cedar Crest area. There were so many volunteers working together, including people from GrowSouth, that the time went by extremely fast. Life and time is best experienced when we come together and work hard for the wellbeing of everyone.
This was a powerful witness to our capacity as human beings to join others when we are serving and doing good. The Mayor’s Star Council mission is to: Connect, Learn, and Serve. This was in full effect during our service project.
We do this because we believe it is our city and our responsibility, and we are working hard today so together we can have a better tomorrow as citizens in the city of Dallas, Texas. And we know that even more important than to achieve our personal goals, is to leave a trail behind that others can follow; an impression in other people’s lives and in our city that sets the pathway to healthy and strong communities. That day the neighbors joined because we showed up. That’s a healthy and strong trail to leave behind.
Tree planting is messy work. One must be willing to get down and sweat the shovel. But our city is our responsibility, and is worth all our sweat. One day, in the future, we are going to pass by Cedar crest and recollect that Saturday we planted those trees.
We find these words from Mother Theresa so descriptive of our work together: “Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love.”
We are indeed happy to serve