Shine a Light of Critical Hope & Sustain Hope
As I prepare for a reading group that I’m co-leading with a colleague for the book titled, “Learning as a Way of Leading: Lessons from the Struggle for Social Justice,” I found myself reflecting on the construct of HOPE. One of the chapters in the book dives deeper into various versions of HOPE, naive HOPE and critical HOPE.
Naive HOPE is “a weak form of HOPE, is inattentive to how disorienting despair can be and unappreciative of how much must be done to overcome injustice” (Preskill & Brookfield, 2009, p. 171).
Critical HOPE “demands that leaders take up the most difficult challenges, explore the most sensitive subjects, and raise the most daring questions”. (Preskill & Brookfield, 2009, p. 173)
This is only the beginning of this conversation for me, my HOPE (no pun intended), is to discuss this again in the future, however, I need more time to read and learn more about the construct. I must address that only this past week did I start diving deeper into learning more about HOPE. I have much more to learn and I encourage you to learn along with me.
As the book title says: LEARNING IS A WAY OF LEADING. To be a leader and to exhibit leadership one must continue the learning journey.
Daily we see through various mediums injustices throughout the world, from abuse to racism to poverty to gender inequality and on and on and on.
Why does having HOPE sometimes feel like it quickly can turn to despair, disappointment or frustration (Solnit, 2004)?
Have you ever felt as though any efforts you make aren’t making a dent in a problem you are trying to help solve?
For a few minutes, I want you to step away from what you might have seen on television or your social media feed and think about what gives you HOPE. How do you spread HOPE to others? Are you willing to explore a more sensitive subject and raise a daring question? If so, what would that subject be and what questions would you ask?
Examples of HOPE are happening around us every day, through small acts of kindness, advocacy efforts in our community, and creation of programs contributing to positive change.
In Learning as a Way of Leading, chapter 9 discusses learning to sustain HOPE in the face of struggle.
A leader wanting to shine a light of critical HOPE and sustain HOPE might (Preskill & Brookfield, 2009, bullets adapted from p. 177):
It takes a community full of HOPE, not naïve but critical HOPE to sustain HOPE and for us to live a journey of a fruitful life.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.