Archives for category: Servant Leadership

At a high school basketball game with cross-town rivals, compassion stirred within me as a boy was wheeled to the center court at half-time to say “thank you” to the community for supporting him in his 4-month battle to survive a football game head injury. I had been at that big rivalry game. I had been one in a massive crowd that watched that motionless player get loaded into an ambulance.

A wave of compassion washed over me for this once strong and agile football boy who was now subdued in his wheelchair and overwhelmed by stands filled with fans at a wild basketball game. Compassion in considering the grief, loss, sadness, and many struggles his mother behind the wheelchair must still be going through settled in me. I want to take action to help them survive and get through this. If there had been an opportunity for attendees at this packed game to give money right then and there to help this family, I am confident it would have quadrupled the game proceeds benefit check raised and given to them during this halftime. Because nearly every parent I could see around me had eyes brimming with tears…as compassion filled them, along with gratefulness for our healthy sons.

As I reflect on being more compassionate this first month of the year, I do so with a desire to allow and then embrace the feelings of compassion I may have for others I interact with, or come across in my days.

Last week at a downtown red light on a cold January morning, I watched a man with a homeless sign smile brightly at drivers in cars ahead of me. “My Name is JAMES I’m homeless & could use any help” his cardboard sign read.

Will I engage my heart?

He waved a type of joyous, “Good Morning!” to folks as they hoped the red light would change to green so they could hurry to their jobs – to make money… to not have to make eye contact with James or to ever have to hold a sign like that. I felt compassion for James. Fortunately, during this red light, I embraced compassion and took a few needed steps of action to live compassion. It was quite simple.

I dug through my purse and car ashtray, finding a few piles of loose bills. “But what if I need cash later?” fleeted through my mind. Oh, that rational, “safe” voice with an edge of selfish care! “Then I’ll use a card,” my heart spoke to my mind. I am so thankful that I have work, money, a home, a car; I am glad I’m not James, and I hope this helps him in a small way.

With that, the light turned green, I hit the auto-window roll-down button on my passenger side, and waved at this man. He quickly came to my car as I rolled forward to him and stopped momentarily, backing up traffic for 3 seconds. “James,” I said as I handed him the cash, “may God bless you today,” I said. And we shared a smile while he verbally thanked me.

I am certain that some motorist farther behind me didn’t get through that red light because of the 3-second delay I caused by acting on my compassion with James. And I am OK with that!

Compassion is authentic when it moves you to action. True compassion transforms our behaviors.

How can I be on the alert this week – even today? What experience will I allow to slow me in my tracks? What observance will I choose to move me to action to compassionately help someone?

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I’m not the overly emotional type. Yet a few weeks ago I found myself waiting with the masses to board a plane in a crowded, major airport. As folks rearranged items in their carry-ons, made last minute phone calls, and appeared with typical glazed-eyes after a long, hot, and muggy Midwest day… a scene capture my attention.

Evidence of Family Relational Pain Swirls Around Us – How Can You Help?

A young boy about ten stood in the pre-boarding area with who appeared to be his mother – or at the least, someone who loved him dearly. The affection and emotion was mutual. He buried his face in her neck – the woman’s tears spilled over as she held and soothed him.

With her hands on his tear-stained cheeks, she pulled his blond head away from her and looked in his face with sympathetic eyes and spoke soft words. He shook his head back and forth – the tears pouring freely. I couldn’t hear their exchange, but reading his lips saying, “I don’t wanna go” was exceptionally clear.

I’m not the crying type … but tears welled up in my eyes. Just imagining the pain of sending your child away against his will, as he cries and clings to you stirred my emotions.

I looked down to gather my things, looked up, and the boy had disappeared down the jetway. The woman stood trying to hold it together and then made her way toward where I stood. She paused, with anguish on her face as her eyes swept the gate attendant area for one more glimpse of the boy.

Without thinking – compassion moved me a few physical steps toward her. I’m not even sure if I said anything, but I extended a hand toward her. With quick recognition of a caring, human soul, she embraced me and wept.

“What’s his name?” I asked as I now held this stranger in my embrace, comforting her during her time of emotional pain.

“Lance,” she said through sobs. “He’s 10, hasn’t seen his dad since Christmas and the courts don’t care what we feel. I’m his mom; but he’s got to go.” And then she cried a bit more.

Who knows what all of the other passengers thought – or if they even witnessed this exchange as anything out of the ordinary. “Can I pray for him right now?” I asked.

“Oh yes, please do.” And there together as we hugged, our hearts joined in prayer for God’s peace to embrace Lance on a flight he didn’t really want to make. My voiced prayer asked God to comfort him, and to help him know y God and his mother both love him.

“And Lord, please comfort this dear mother right now. Amen.” She thanked me. And in a sea of people I’ll probably never see again, including this dear woman, we parted ways. She was headed back home to a quiet house. I was headed on to the plane to deliver a message to a weeping blond boy seated in the front of the plane.

“Hey Lance. … Lance…” He wiped the tears from his eyes as his head turned from the window, past the people in his row, to the aisle where I moved down. “Hey Buddy, your mom (And I used her name so he wouldn’t think I was some weirdo) wanted me to tell you she’s out there praying for you.” I smiled at him – and I’d like to think I saw a sense of peace or relief wash over him just a skosh.

Airport scenes of parents and children separating under situations like this happen every day. Maybe there are more of them now with summer underway.

No judgment here. While I am filled w/ gratitude that our 2 kids have never had to know the anguish that Lance does, family relational pain is real and can be tortuous to those involved.

So I wonder, “How can I help a hurting kid or parent today? What will this look like?”

Who will come across your path in the next 48 hours who could use a bit of compassion and care? And more importantly, how will you reach out?

By Dr. Heidi Scott – Consultant, Speaker & Coach developing people, teams, and organizations