All community members have the potential to become Inclusive Leaders. The more skilled we each become at embracing our own and others’ diverse identities the more we are each able to contribute to building sustainable communities, “…We must find ways to harmonize diversity with unity, the exercise of freedom with the common good, short-term objectives with long-term goals. Every individual, family, organization, and community has a vital role to play.” (Earth Charter)
Gerry Masuda has been a friend and supporter of Inclusive Leadership since 2006, when he participated in a week of experiential Inclusive Leadership Education. This experience ten years ago was part of his on-going search for his meaningful and vital leadership roles in his community.
Gerry says that when he retired from his military and business careers in 1992 he became fascinated by his new-found freedom of being a retiree who could do whatever he wanted with his daily life. He had been so used to someone above him doing the delegating of roles.
After moving to the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada in 1999, he began exploring how community-based leadership is based on volunteerism and circles rather than careers and hierarchies. Everywhere he went as he travelled from circle to circle and event to event in the Cowichan Valley, he would say: “I’m looking for my role, but I haven’t found it yet.”
Gerry says he still hasn’t discovered his one all-important purpose in living, learning, and leading in his diverse community. But his experiences have taught him over and over again that it is the journey that counts more than the destination.
At this point in his Inclusive Leadership journey, he has discovered that he currently has a vital role to play at the Saturday Farmer’s Market in Duncan, where he lives. Every Saturday, on his way to the market, he buys a couple of packages of balloons or some chalk and then sets himself up in the centre of the market on a bench close to the music stage. He blows up a balloon or holds up a piece of chalk and hands out one of these toys to an unsuspecting child – always asking the parents for permission to do so!
The outcomes for our community are a continuous stream of joy: surprised looks lead to smiling, laughter, appreciation and gratitude as parents, grandparents and everyone at the market watches our children dance with their balloons, create art with their chalk, and discover their vital roles of playing for peace in our community.
“Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.” (Earth Charter)