Leadership at Its Best - Sunday, June 5, 2016
Arthur Wright was a simple preacher living in South Carolina during an era of deep racial tension. The future did not seem particularly bright for an African American family like his, but Arthur encouraged his children to rise to the greatness within them. His daughter Marian wrote of him: “I was fourteen years old the night my Daddy . . . passed away. He had holes in his shoes but two children out of college, one in college, another in divinity school, and a vision he had conveyed to me that I, a young Black girl, could be and do anything I wanted.”
Marian Wright Edelman proved her father right. She eventually became an attorney, founded the Children’s Defense Fund, and was awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Leaders like Arthur Wright have vision. They inspire others to do more, become more, and work more at being the best they can be.
Leadership is not reserved for those on a world stage, in high office, or in business or government. Many of the best leaders are homegrown, and their greatest influence may be on those at the dinner table or down the street. They may be bold and energetic, but they are never brash or belittling. Leaders listen, showing self-restraint and humility when working with others. They draw others to them because they can be trusted; they’re honest and fair, and they expect honesty and fairness in return.
When problems arise, leaders respond with actions that are measured and tempered by experience and perspective. When the Wright family’s hometown denied the black community access to public parks, Marian’s father spearheaded efforts to build a park and skating rink behind his church. Leaders are problem solvers.
That’s leadership at its best. It rises above the harsh tones and hypocrisy that so often dominate the discourse today. The world needs good leaders, true leaders. And as Arthur Wright showed, that can be all of us. We can all step up and do our part with honor—for a true leader is nothing more or less than a person who is dedicated to principles of character and integrity and who inspires others to do the same.
In Andrew Carroll, ed., Letters of a Nation: A Collection of Extraordinary American Letters (1997), xxxv.
June 5, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,525
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
How Firm a Foundation
Attributed to J. Ellis; arr. Mack Wilberg
Requiem aeternam, from Requiem
Unfold Ye Portals, from The Redemption
Climb Ev’ry Mountain, from The Sound of Music
Richard Rodgers; arr. Arthur Harris
Standing on the Promises
Russell K. Carter; arr. Ryan Murphy