Monday, February 29, 2016
The fish rots from the top. An attorney-turned-pastor used that analogy often while we conversed between mental and spiritual care counseling sessions at the parish he still serves in Sterling Heights, Michigan, after decades. I recall when a bride's mother was apparently upset that the good pastor wouldn't be available to witness her daughter's Saturday wedding. Drama ensured. Mother called the bishop who called the pastor, and, then told me to do the wedding. Go figure. A series of reactive moves, no? Concerns about home-grown residential Detroit Public School leaders emerging from Detroit, Michigan readily emerge these days following the Flint, Michigan toxic water debacle that the Governor's e-mail show that he wanted his staff to "work through this without a disaster declaration if possible." After all the emergency managers running things in Michigan, everywhere, it seems, clearly, one understands why! Mess after mess kicked down the road, so to speak, to the next so-called leader. Benchmarks and promises have proved futile so long on the backs of children who indeed will live what they learn watching and witnessing us older and seasoned leaders whether negative or positive! The City needs to take back leadership in this revered town that I respect, love and give time to almost daily at Chen and Lafayette near downtown's Jefferson Avenue, amid a high-crime area near the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Apartments where the elderly citizens fear the gangs surrounding the complex. Local control was always the better way. My parents - the first locals - raised seven children in the 50s-60s when diapers were cloth and mom and dad both worked concurrently as they put food on the table, shoes on our feet, and, a roof over our heads. And, they did it all well in an imperfect world where three-square meals and more mattered most. It's also refreshing that the Vatican's top advisers acknowledged yesterday that the Catholic Church "has made enormous mistakes" in overlooking and allowing children to be raped and molested by clergy over centuries. Positive leadership is the kind Pope Francis shows across the globe wherever he goes. Even when someone seemed to be pulling him into the lines of revelers that wanted to greet him and shake his hand, he quickly asserted to one person: "Don't be selfish!" Global leadership is local at its best. Detroit: Take charge and lead again, now! Dad and mom, coupled with the local leaders in the neighborhood, at work, at school, at church, in the businesses, and more, lead! After all, the fish rots from the top. By now, the aroma is ready for fresh air!