You have to take a stand and sometimes you have to live with the fact that it may be an unpopular decision.
In today’s world we receive and have access to abundance of information via the Internet. That is a fact. People may question the validity of my next statement but I stand firmly behind it:
I am a leader in my community.
I didn’t say I’m a good leader and I try earnestly to avoid being a bad one. In the realm of possibilities my reach in the world is just a sliver in comparison to the broad scope of the global pie occupied by someone like, President Barack Obama or Lady Gaga. But consider this; my actions have a more lasting impact on the people that are within my circle of influence as compared to a celebrity or a political figure.
Sure, celebrities set the tone for fads, fashion, music and other aspects of popular culture; Politicians ultimately decide a countries fate in matters of the State. But in your homes and in your community, you are a living, breathing entity that contributes to the overall well-being of its members. You are an example (whether you like it or not).
Leaders are agents of thought. They inspire others to live a certain way simply through the power of suggestion, sometimes through persuasion. Leaders can empower but they can also enslave us. No matter what the dogma, powerful leaders can move us to action by starting from within; by sowing a seed of thought. Sometimes a leader must stand on platform that may generate animosity, it may be polarizing, it may be confrontational. In my limited scope one of the primary and motivating factors in my thought process is simple: protect my family and my community based on my belief system. You may not agree with my ethics or my morals but it is what I believe and it is what I feel is best for my family.
And this is what I believe: In the microcosm that is my world I am many things to many people. I am Polynesian, a distinction that I cannot escape because my DNA says so. The hue of my skin, the kink in my hair, my height and every sinew in my physical makeup help to identify me as a member of a Pacific Island clan.
I am Samoan because that is where my ancestors ended up hundreds of years ago but I know in my heart that warring tribes from Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, Tahiti and the smaller states of the Pacific all contributed to the anthropological fiber of my people and family.
I am a follower of Christ which makes my life seem less appealing to a greater percentage of the U.S. population. Because of my belief in Christ I adhere to a very strict, conservative lifestyle but it does not mean that I don’t like to have fun nor does it mean that I shun all those who do not share in my religious beliefs. It does not imply that I cannot broaden my horizons, seek to understand new things or embrace new thoughts and ideas. I’m a firm believer that everyone has the right to “worship how, where or what they may,” because oppressive beliefs and the subjugation of another human being to one’s beliefs is contrary to the teachings of Christ. The dilemma is, understanding when and how to close the door on corruption that seeks to destroy my belief system, my home, myself and the people whom I love.
I am a husband and a father. These two aspects of my life are the most precious and important facets of my existence. It wasn’t always that way but every day I vow to do better than I did before. I have an obligation to love, serve, protect, honor, respect, lead, teach and learn from my immediate, extended, communal and global family.
I am a teacher and a student. Everyone has the ability to divulge, impart and expound. Everyone has something new to learn. If we do not teach and we refuse to learn than our existence is of no consequence to anyone but one’s self. It is a limited, narrow and rigid view that may sometimes destroy our ability to love others because of our differences.
These things make me. They empower me. They embolden me. They implore me. When I die do I want to be known as the guy who was friendly to and accepted by millions or the guy who contributed to the nurturing of minds and serving the lives of a few?