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Nation is starved for true servant-leaders

It is interesting to watch the debates that often turn into a game of one-upmanship; the actions of our legislators who don’t want to take responsibility because it is an election year; the enormous executive compensation for CEOs; the tax loopholes the rich find to squiggle through; the taxpayer saying, “No more taxes, but give me more services”; the additional rules and regulations passed each year with few being rescinded; the self-voted salaries of Congress; the downfall of large banks thought to be “safe”; Wall Street’s potholes and closed-for-traffic signs. Where does it end?

When I was a child, my parents taught me that you don’t take things that don’t belong to you. You share with others what you have. You go the extra mile because someday you might need help. You treat others better than you would yourself. You stand up for the underdog. You take responsibility for your actions and don’t blame others. You never lie.

These were good common sense rules. Have I always followed these rules? No; I am not even close to perfect.

But I have used them as guiding principles throughout life; and when I have stumbled, I admitted my mistake, asked for forgiveness and moved on.

What would it be like if Wall Street, Congress, business, education, health care, Hollywood and many, many others followed these rules? Greed would be for those who might be labeled “sick.” Dishonesty would be acted out only by criminals. Honor would be rewarded. Integrity would be emulated. Leadership would emerge. Business would grow. Affordable health care would be available to all. Education would be a leadership career, and Congress would be made up of excellent middle-class folks who want to do their best for all.

Guiding principles cannot be superimposed upon people. One cannot legislate them. They can’t be bought or sold.

They have to come from within. And they have to be practiced, even when the easy thing would be to give in to temptation.

So, how do you change a nation of self-serving, greedy, self-absorbed people?

You do it one person at a time with strong leadership whose guiding principles of honesty, integrity, honor above self and generosity are part of the core of the individual. And this means you take stock of those who represent you in Congress and vote out those who do more for themselves than they do for their constituents or the nation as a whole.

Never before has our nation so needed leaders who tell the truth, live lives to serve, want less rather than more, and have a vision of a peace-filled world where we do not always have to gain peace through bullying. Is there anyone out there who is a true servant-leader and who will put him or herself out for slaughter? If there is, come on down: The nation is ready for good servant-leaders.

Beth Regedanz is a Fort Wayne resident. She wrote this for The Journal Gazette.

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