Birth

Today I am grateful for the birth that gave hope to the hopeless. In this season of birth and renewal in the midst of confusion and fear, I am praying for sufficient strength to be hopeful, effective faith to believe, and enough compassion to be loving…

“For a child has been born—for us! The gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.” Isaiah 9: 6-7, MSG

Inhale Creation, Exhale Suppression…
Inhale Inclusion, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Separation…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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Growth

“Are your painful experiences stumbling blocks or stepping stones?” ~ Bruce D. Schneider

One of the forever lessons I learned from my Air Force career is the ability to see the lesson in every experience. When I had great leaders, I took notes and unapologetically copied any behaviors that fit my leadership style. When I had not so great leaders, I learned some things NOT to do and how to exorcise those behaviors in my leadership.

When I had a positive leadership experience, I tried to understand what went right and build on it. When I had a negative leadership experience, I took the lesson and course corrected.

My goal was to never be complacent, never stop learning and never stop growing.

Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.” ~ Proverbs 15:22, The Message

Inhale Growth, Exhale Stagnation…
Inhale Renewal, Exhale Regression…
Inhale Expansion, Exhale Complacence…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
#Development

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The Choice is Yours…

Last spring, in the face of virulent racism in this country, I started rereading Daniel Goldhagen’s provocative bestseller, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Published almost 20 years ago, it explores how ordinary Germans “came to be such potential willing mass killers and how the Nazi regime tapped this disastrous potentiality.”

Goldhagen argues convincingly that the German’s thoroughly anti-Semitic attitude, which led to anti-Jewish measures, legislation, persecution and finally, incarceration and death in concentration camps, had grown unabated for hundreds of years. Anti-Semitism did “not appear, disappear, then reappear in [German] society”; it was always present.” The Nazi’s simply tapped into the hate.

The parallels to the United States’ unique brand of racism are pretty obvious. There is no evidence the beliefs, which allowed, accepted, and condoned the theft of this country from its original inhabitants and the theft and enslavement of peoples from another continent have ever fundamentally changed.

It’s why the politics of fear and division offered by our 45th president have been so successful.

Last weekend, once again we saw the results of extreme and persistent prejudice when ordinary Americans brutally implemented an illogical, illegal and immoral immigration order. The order, which, apparently, was not reviewed by other government agencies, did not come with instructions for the people responsible for its enforcement.

FirstTheyComeAnd so a Somali women traveling with two small children with U.S. passports was threatened, harassed, handcuffed while officials tried to coerce her into signing papers that would send her out of the country. During the 18 hours she and her children were detained, they were not fed or allowed to get food.

I’m sure those officials will defend their actions saying they had no choice. But they did…and they chose to act with no compassion.

This is how ordinary people become accomplices to atrocities.

In the days to come, Americans will have ample opportunities to choose compassion over unquestioning compliance…what will you choose?

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked

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American Experiment: Willful Ignorance

Amid the videos of violence committed against black bodies this past week, was one of a Trump official stating that she didn’t “think there was any racism until Obama got elected.” The video of Kathy Miller, who is white and chair of Trump’s campaign in Mahoning County, went viral and resulted in her resigning from her post.

Just in case you missed it…

But her resignation only means she won’t be associated with the “isms” emanating from the Trump camp.

It doesn’t mean she has suddenly changed her mind about why some black Americans have not thrived.

It doesn’t mean she no longer believes blacks have “had benefits to go to college that white kids didn’t have.”

It doesn’t mean she’s realized black voter turnout percentage exceeded all other groups in the last two presidential elections.

It just means she won’t have a public platform to state beliefs shared with a number of white Americans who are increasingly vocal about their racism.

She is a product of the systemic racism taught in our public schools and reinforced through racist institutions, most notably our criminal justice system. She has bought into American’s collective self-image, the core of which “is the assumption that mobility is always possible, so failure to move up reflects on one’s character. By extension, the failure of a race or ethnic group to move up reflects very poorly on the group as a whole.” ~ Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

She will hold onto her beliefs because in a country that continues to attract freedom-loving people from all over the world, it’s easier to believe that everyone is free to achieve the American Dream.

“There is but one coward on earth, and that is the coward that dare not know.” ~ W.E.B. Du BoisTweet

The easy thing is to reject new information and realities. The hard thing is to accept what is difficult to know and be transformed through a deeper understanding of the truth.

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked

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Being Human

We get caught up in the busyness of life, the doing of things we should do, the going to places we’ve committed to go to and sometimes we forget to just be.

Being still gives us a chance to rest our bodies and our minds so God can get our attention. Being still allows us to access the dreams and desires God has placed in our souls…

“I am a human being, not a human doing.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Inhale Stillness, Exhale Busyness…
Inhale Intuition, Exhale Exhaustion…
Inhale Vision, Exhale Blindness…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe

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