We are often a competitive people. We laud those who come out ahead, we praise those who win. We spend a great deal of time attending to excellence and modeling ourselves after those we call successful. Being first is sometimes felt as a deep need – a desire that can be understood as either strengthening our resolve, or distorting our focus.
When it comes to being first, content matters.
Striving for being first too often overshadows defining what we seek to be first in. If we are first in derision, if we are first in injustice, if we are first in lack of kindness, what have we achieved? Yes, we can claim superiority, but we must cede decency.
To be first in love might mean being the last one to hold a grudge, the last one to bully, the last one to condescend. To be first in moral excellence might mean being the last one to oppress, the last one to judge, the last one to hold on to privilege. To be the first in generosity might mean being the last one to withhold, the last one to conceal abundance, the last one to refuse to be involved.
Being first or being last is more complicated than the words might suggest. Guided by our values, we might choose supremacy or subordination.
We might ask, “How can I be good.”
In what ways shall I seek to be first? In what ways shall I seek to be last? How might I live my values to the fullest?
Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Our oldest daughter Brittany had sent me this yesterday I really enjoyed it and hope you did as well. It got me thinking personally about when I wanted to be first and when I wanted to be last.
Here is the list as I began it in my journal…
I want to be first ….
To express kindness, to offer help, let go of grudges, to offer encouragement, support truth, to take initiative, say I’m sorry…
I want to be last … at being angry or impatient, not being trusted, putting others down, rushing to judgment, not expressing appreciation and gratitude to others….
When do you want to be first and last?
Remember Leaders Teach Values… always!
PS if you want to share this message with your team – There are many short videos that might help. I suggest typing in these keywords. “carry opponent around bases” or “incredible act of sportsmanship”
here is one I liked… http://www.cbsnews.com/news/unbelievable-act-of-sportsmanship/ And a more personal presentation of the same story can be found below. 🙂