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Photo by Jim and Jamie Dutcher/National Geographic, Book: The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack

Leaders are not born, they are tried. They are tested and they fail more often than most only to get up again, dust their knees and march forth once more. What makes or breaks our leaders isn’t so much their victories as much as all the sharing and community building that occurs along the way, everyone they reach over and help up, all the tears they wipe away and smiles they share. You are all leaders right now. I see and read more personal accounts of hope, pain, grief and constructive articulate anger now than I have read and seen in my entire life. This pandemic will try and test the best of us, but it will not break us. There are too many leaders reaching out and helping one another right now. There is too much hope & instinctual community building rising up and out of this threat to our entire way of life for it all to come to naught.

I staunchly refuse to give in to the pervasive postmodern notion that everything has already been said and done, that our story has already been told and that a fateful wheel of repetitive, habitual decision making is retelling the same story of our lives over and over again throughout our civilization’s history. We are evolving. We have grown. And we will now lead.

The leadership I see in my neighbour’s face when she waves a big hello to me from the other side of the street every morning for the past week, as if the shear force of her smile alone could make the corona virus stop dead in its tracks. The leadership I see in my husband valiantly picking up where I leave off with the dishes, with our kids, making all the beds and folding all our laundry, as we’re struggling to make ends meet at home now and have hardly had any time or energy to stop and actually tell each other that we love each other. The leadership I see in my kids’ daycare educator organizing group video call activities so my very young children can see their daycare friends and laugh and share and look into each other’s eyes and say things like ‘I miss you so much’ and ‘don’t worry, I’m drawing you a picture’ and blow kisses at each other through the screen. The leadership I see in my grocery store cashier when she stops and asks every single one of us now when we step up to her counter ‘how are you?’, and actively looks for our gaze, actually waits for an answer and listens. The leadership I see in our unions and community associations, our courageous first responders and exhausted and overwhelmed hospital staff. Leadership is blossoming everywhere in the midst of this crisis and it is being tried and tested. We are being tried and tested.

Political parties will come and go. Governments will come and go. But we will not. We will lead, in our homes, in our streets and in our communities because that’s where true leadership matters most, especially now. I say we keep reaching and looking out for each other now, educating each other, articulating and voicing our discontent, our joys, our fears and our pain in the midst of this epically scary time. I wanted to personally thank you for leading the way for all of us in your own way. I am grateful to have you in my life in our collective isolation and hour of need. Whether you sing us a song online, relate the facts, share a recipe, write a poem, cry in bed at night and tell about it or write to your MP to demand further action or protection in your own riding, you are making a difference and helping us all move forward and onward. Leaders are not born, they are tried. Mark my words, when this massive trial has come and gone, our story will be our own and you will have led us all to a better tomorrow.