Ideas: Traditional Change Agents

Change is in the air. And in the streets. It’s on the placards, in the words of people on the march. With a single, united voice: Change!

Upon closer examination, what they really mean is that change is what other people need to do. We’re fine, you’re the problem.

Change isn’t always the real problem, too often it’s the people who propose it without self-reflection and humility. Back in the early 2000s, I was in a leadership forum for the city of Milwaukee. One evening, it was my turn to moderate the guest panel and the topic might have had something to do with leadership. Maybe the family. Maybe communities. The four panelists all were quite descriptive of how change was needed and long overdue. Towards the end, I wondered that all of their advice was directed towards others, so I asked how they themselves might change. What was it that they were doing that might need some improvement to help with change? This was not a welcome question nor obviously one with easy answers.

The great English writer G. K. Chesterton had said that the best criticism was self-criticism. Change starts inside first.

Over one hundred years ago, The Times of London ran an essay contest asking, What’s Wrong with the World? Chesterton, a prolific writer who had written over 100 books and over 5000 essays, responded to the question of what’s wrong with the world with this:

Dear Sirs,

I am.

Yours,

G. K. Chesterton

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