On behalf of F3 Nation, Dark Helmet issued a statement regarding recent events resulting from racial injustice. It is a great reminder of F3 Nation’s core principle of inclusivity and our individual potential as community leaders. For those who haven’t, I encourage you visit the link below.
To elaborate on F3 Nation’s message, I would like to share what it could look like when we “GET TO LEADING,” specifically focusing on the this part of Dark Helmet’s message: “We must learn…and strive for better. We must embody grace and mercy and love, as that is what virtuous leadership should be built upon.”
To clarify, this message is not a call for political action. Black Lives Matter is certainly a political movement and so is an All Lives Matter response, which are two sides of the same coin. Caring for those in our lives affected by recent events does not require we take either side of this political debate. It is possible to respond as compassionate leaders without any political agenda and here’s how.
WHAT IT DOES AND DOESN’T LOOK LIKE
When a PAX shares that he has lost a family member to senseless tragedy, we acknowledge him with TAPs (grace). We accept he is coping with his experience to the best of his ability and assure him better was deserved and better will come (mercy). We respond with questions to understand his experience and explore ways we can better support him in his grief, though oftentimes only a few are positioned and enabled to actually help beyond listening (love). Despite not personally knowing his loss, we offer him grace, mercy and love because he is our brother and because our workouts (and hearts) are OPEN TO ALL MEN. Doing so requires, on our part, courage of heart and recognition that our words and actions are powerful in times of grief. Doing so does not require we become activists for or against the cause of tragedy, though everyone is entitled to do so.
When a PAX is grieving, we do NOT remain silent. We do NOT explain reasons that the loss was deserved. We do NOT remind them that everyone endures loss. We do NOT insinuate they are being overly sensitive. We do NOT judge or condemn him for how he is coping with or experiencing his grief.
WHAT WE CAN DO AND HOW
Our community has lost members to tragedies of racial injustice. Though not all members are grieving these losses the same way and to the same degree, we can be courageous and compassionate by engaging with those affected when they voice their concerns. Racism is a deeply personal experience so recognize when victims share their experiences of racism, they’re extending vulnerability and a chance for us to respond with courage and compassion.
We offer grace by acknowledging the tragedy and its deep potential impacts on the individual, though we may not personally know his experience. We offer mercy by accepting that our community’s responses (both peaceful and violent) are real responses from oppressed groups and recognizing violence is a regrettable and disagreeable yet small fraction of a much larger peaceful response. We offer love by seeking to understand the his personal experiences of these tragedies and exploring how we may better support his grieving, if beyond being a listening ear.
The actions we choose to take in response to these discussions is how we lead our community. Instead of responding with fear of the uncomfortable, I encourage you to engage with courage and compassion. This is how we learn and strive for better.