This weekend, as our nation celebrates its freedom, let us not forget the debt of gratitude we owe to the brave men and women who fought—and who continue to fight—for our freedoms. We owe them so much.
Their courage, their devotion to our country and the values it was founded upon, and their leadership should inspire us. Indeed, we can all learn valuable lessons from their leadership, as we know how difficult it is to be a leader—especially in today’s world.
Being a good leader means that you stand apart from others. It means that the spotlight is on you. People scrutinize your words and actions. They may criticize, mock, or even condemn you, especially online where anonymity is their impetus for unkind words, rude comments, or even violent threats.
But strong and moral leadership is something we desperately need today. Too many people simply want to quietly follow the crowd. Unfortunately, the crowd is not always going in the right direction.
As Christ said in Matthew: “If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.”
Follow the wrong leader, and that pit will be eternal damnation.
Follow the right leader, and we will find eternal glory.
Become the right leader, and we will not only find eternal glory, but we will lead others to eternal glory.
That is why—whether in our own homes, in our workplaces, among our friends, or within our communities—our goal should always be to lead others to Christ. Though we must never underestimate the importance of words, we must lead with our actions. People tend to do what we do rather than what we say. People—especially our children—watch and emulate how we behave, how we worship, and how we treat others.
But don’t think that you have to be a George Washington, a Thomas Jefferson, or a Ben Franklin to get people’s attentions. Leaders are found in all walks of life. Good leaders make big differences in their families, in their circle of friends, or even within their communities. Your influence need not be on a global scale.
So, as we contemplate freedom and the importance of good leadership, let us focus on this inspirational story of a young woman who is making an impact in her own way.
Grace McCallum is one of six women set to compete at the Tokyo Olympics later this month. This 18-year-old not only inspires with her gymnastic prowess, but also with her faith. According to a Catholic News Agency article, Grace takes both her rosary and a special cross from her grandmother everywhere she goes. Her faith is an important part of her life.
Because she isn’t afraid to carry her rosary, because she isn’t afraid to speak about her faith, and because she isn’t intimidated by a secular world, maybe other teenagers will realize what Grace already knows: Faith is not something that should be hidden under a blanket. Faith is not something that should come out only at night when you pray. Faith is not something just celebrated on Sunday mornings. Faith must be a constant part of our lives. And it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
So, this 4th of July, as we contemplate freedom and the leadership that affords us that freedom, let us also remember that with freedom comes responsibility. As children of God, we are all responsible for each other. We are responsible for teaching our children about our faith. We are responsible for helping them grow in that faith. We are responsible for spreading that faith to our friends and communities.
And we are responsible for helping others avoid the pit that the secular world wants to lead them into.
Grace’s mother says that “nothing means more to [Grace] than people reaching out saying they are praying for her.”
Let us take time this weekend to not only pray for Grace and for good leaders, but also that we find the courage to become the leaders who inspire others to follow Christ.