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Leadership, Heroism & Selflessness

2012 marked the passing of some incredible leaders.

A few, like US Army General Norman Schwarzkopf, were public figures.  Others, like teacher Victoria Soto or Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung and their Newtown, Connecticut colleagues, toiled in anonymity until a tragedy awakened us to their greatness.  Yes, leadership and heroism are intertwined.

Leadership is often in the eye of the beholder – with everyone having their own definition of it and its attributes.  Every now and then, though, there are certain actions by certain people who inspire us because of the leadership they exhibit and the lessons they can teach all of us.

The teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary are among the select few whose actions in the face of extreme adversity can truly be called heroic.  Their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the children in their care is akin to the warrior’s willingness to sacrifice himself for his buddies in combat.  The difference is that the warrior knows he is going into danger, but the teacher does not.  That fact makes the teachers’ sacrifice even more remarkable.


That word is seldom used in describing what it is like to be a leader.  Sacrifice comes in different forms.  Sometimes it can be planned for or anticipated.  Sometimes it is required of us when we least expect it.  Aspiring leaders are not taught about these kinds of sacrifices in the classroom.  Often they must learn about them by experiencing them first-hand.

Selflessness goes hand-in-hand with a willingness to sacrifice oneself for others.  True leaders exhibit a selflessness we don’t usually see in our dealings with other people.  Success in high positions should be judged on a leader’s ability to transcend our natural self-centeredness in the interests of a greater good.

As we begin our work routines in 2013 it might be good to remember the spirit of selflessness exhibited by Victoria Soto, Dawn Hochsprung and their colleagues Mary Sherlach, Anne Marie Murphy, Rachel D’Avino, and Lauren Rousseau.  There could be no more fitting memorial to these heroic teachers than to act as selflessly as they did when the time comes for us to do so.  That would make General Schwarzkopf proud.

By Cedric Leighton, a contributing blogger for JenningsWire,  a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.

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One Response to "Leadership, Heroism & Selflessness"

  1. Oleg Kharchenko says:

    Eagles don`t live in city skyscrappers, they soar free over wild forests, foggy mountains, wide praries. So…seldom you could find a selfless hero among high rank peacocks

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