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Leadership: Learning from the Pope

  1. By Christine Mason, CEI Executive Director


As I watched Pope Francis, not only was I awed, I was transported from our world of can’ts to a world of possibilities. I was lifted up from the mundane, bureaucratic world of politics, to a kingdom of kindness, connection, and caring.

Today, as I turn my attention again to the realm of education, I am  motivated to ask how Pope Francis message could be translated to schools and the educational systems here in the U.S. Here are some things to consider:

  1. He knew to recognize the least of us.

  2. He paused to listen to children.

  3. He felt compelled to give children (in Harlem) a “homework” assignment. The assignment – to pray for him.  So he requested something that was unexpected and doable.

  4. He led with courage, with passion, and by example.

  5. When talking with leaders, he asked them to rise above their differences, to bring about change and improvements.  However his “ask” was within the context of a tone of expectation — as if he was expecting change.

  6. He radiated love, compassion, and a presence — humble, yet powerful; softspoken yet masterful.

  7. He didn’t ask us to “try” — he asked us to “do.”

  8. He referenced his source — the Bible.

  9. He tackled the difficult, where he knew there were differences. He didn’t shy away from the controversial.  He dared to deviate from the historical positions.

  10. He displayed extraordinary stamina.

  11. He recognized the importance and power of music, and it played an important role in his ceremonies.

So how does his example translate to our lives?  Could educators learn from him? Might we be able to be a bit more kinder, more humble, more compassionate?

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