submitted by Michael Slaby, Lindsay Beal, and Stanley Daniels with encouragement from Kix Citton
Edited by Linda Hill
Inclusive leadership has been something of great inspiration to many of our families: A source of hope. We are grateful to have learned and embraced its teaching and recognized our own potential to lead inclusively with this great program.
Within our own families there is so much we can do to be role models for alternatives to the prevalent western view of leadership that is narrow and hierarchical.
However, this involves realizing that for families to be inclusive we need to go beyond valuing inclusion to intentionally learning Inclusive Leadership skills. So many of us who value inclusion find it easy to be inclusive within our patient times of enjoying the moments of following the lead of our children. But within our busy daily lives we can forget to practice the simple skills for creating an inclusive environment. Maybe its the simplicity of these skills that cause people to under-value their importance. Fortunately, these loving skills that are so simple can be so transformative to family cohesion, fluidity and openness.
Stanley Daniels, is a third year social work student who has been an elected member of the Canim Lake Council since 2018. He has been involved in Inclusive Leadership since 2005, when he was a teenager. Stanley shares: “It has informed my way of life since I first began my journey as an inclusive leader when I was a young person. I remember the feeling of peace, serenity, belonging and kindness. It was the beginning of understanding and appreciating what Inclusion meant; That even though we are all different, we share a common theme of wanting to belong and having gifts to offer to one another. It certainly developed a true leadership principle of inclusion and contribution as well as acceptance.
Every day as conversations of unity and Secwepemc unity are thrown around I ask: What does unity look like for the Secwepemc Nation, my Canim Lake community and my family? I know that with the compassionate communication involved in being an Inclusive Leader, unity includes:
- Being heard
- Being included
- Recognizing differences as strengths
- Recognizing individual differences as a collective strength
- Having respect for one another
- Having integrity
- Building trust
- Being there and showing up.
It is with the intention of ensuring everyone feels heard and included that I do all my work in my family, community and nation. Letting everyone know that they matter and their voice and story deserves to be heard , that I support everyone , not just some. I see people of all status and power levels as the same. I would hope my kindness shows up the same in every interaction.”
Lindsay Beal is an inclusive community-builder, an art educator and co-ordinator of the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative.
She shares this story: “As I’ve become more familiar with Inclusive Leadership skills, I am recognizing the intriguing subtleties and complexities inherent in leading and Including people from diverse backgrounds. For example, one skill on the pillar of Connecting with Differences is following the leaders behind us. It’s fascinating to think about all the ways this can be done, how following can be leading, and why this is important for building strong families and communities.
Last month I hosted a New Year’s Eve Dance Party at our house. It was the first time I celebrated the New Year with my mother, daughter and grandson all together, and I had my husband and brother as well (I usually celebrate with them). I was most happy about advocating for a family who had never gone out on New Years Eve because they couldn’t find a babysitter, and taking their daughter with them was not possible. We worked together to make the evening inclusive for their 12 year old daughter. She and Pause (our cat) had a safe space with all the comforts and regular visits from parents, my husband and me. Her mom and dad danced up a storm with all the other guests!
I felt informed by my work with Inclusive Leadership Co-operative. There was even a time on the dance floor when an ‘old gang’ danced together and though it was joyful and fun to watch, by the second song it began to feel exclusive. Guests who were new and not part of the ‘old gang’ were obviously on the periphery. I danced into the group and facilitated inclusion for all the other dancers, without being noticed as doing so. Again, I felt the community of Inclusive Leaders with me in spirit as our family role-modeled Inclusive Leadership.”
Michael Slaby, Program Manager for the Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values in Germany shares: “So much has happened since my involvement in Inclusive Leadership and the Earth Charter from 2004 to 2007. Inclusive Leader, mentor and yoga teacher Kix Citton made such an impression on me that I fell in love with a Yoga teacher. We traveled to India together, got married and now have 4 wonderful children together. Still so much work to do to change the world and realize the ideals of the Earth Charter and Inclusive Leadership.
Inclusive Leaders around the world are trying to do our part to bring up the NEXT generation of young leaders. Our children teach us a lot in terms of patience, enjoying the moment and following the leaders behind us. So good to see that finally the world is waking up and the next generation of young leaders is taking it to the streets.
I am really inspired by Greta and her mates, and all the “Fridays for Future” rallies around the world. So many of us are taking our children and grandchildren to the climate strikes. Really heartening and such an eye-opener for our children to see the pictures of young people taking action for Mother Earth all around the globe on the net.
Seems like the “one Earth community” that the Earth Charter talks about is finally coming to shape. And looking at the challenges happening all around us, it’s really necessary for families to lead the way.”
Note from Linda: Just before we completed this blog post, the Guardian published this beautifully written excerpt from Malena Erlman’s memoir about raising her daughters, Greta and Beata Thunberg. There are many interconnections!