This is a guest post by Richard L. Godfrey.Richard L. Godfrey is a cofounder of The Galileo Initiative. Prior to the launch of The Galileo Initiative, Richard worked as a senior international consultant with Franklin Covey. Over more thantwo decades, Richard has worked with corporate, government, military, and not-for-profit organization clients all around the globe. He has specialized in adapting leadership and productivity concepts to thespecific needs of his clients and audiences and is highly sought after asa keynote speaker, training facilitator, and management consultant. He has also so-authored 3 other books and is currently working on his first novel.
A hole is forming in America. It’s not a literal hole but like holes that form in nature it does two things ““ it creates a void and it contributes to a collapse of that which is built upon what was once solid ground.
The hole I’m worried about is a “hole” in leadership, a rapidly forming void where the principles and practices of personal responsibility and group leadership are quickly disappearing. And, this void of leadership is threatening all of us. Its threatening the older generation of Americans but most especially, it is severely impacting the rising generation ““ the youth and the children who will inherit whatever we leave behind ““ stable or unstable, growing or disappearing.
In a book titled, On the Shoulders of Giants, you would expect some “giants” to appear. And, they do. The giants I write about are both absent and present. They are absent in that they are the stories of the lives of great Americans, long dead. They are present to the degree we are willing to look back, lean back and “learn back”.
This country was born of struggle. First we fought against the oppression of our God given liberties by the English. We then fought among ourselves to decide if we could be a whole and healed country during the war with the states. The Great Depression, two World Wars, Korea and Vietnam defined the America of the 20th century. And today wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locales as well as a recession threaten us once more.
We came off victorious in the past because we were great leaders, great followers and ““ generally speaking ““ a people of high integrity, a commitment to caring for each other and a desire to take risk, work hard and reap and share the fruits of our labor.
Each story in the book focuses on the life of one American ““ some famous, some not ““ who had to confront their moment of challenge. Each story teaches us as readers what they summoned and how they met those challenges ““ and came off conquerors.
The book has two audiences. I wrote it primarily to my children ““ who are young adults. They are going through their own challenges and I wanted to write a letter from father to children that might provide them with both context and content for creating their own victories. At the back of the book are a series of questions ““ ideas for discussion between parents and children, especially children who are struggling with the realities of our day.
The other audience is you. You and I are in this thing together. We bear a substantial burden and a sacred responsibility to those who have gone before. Our task is to move America forward, to make her better and in doing so to preserve those principles, those elements of character, that respect for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” that defines the American experience.
We stand on the shoulders of giants and there are among us today our generation’s giants. We must seek them out, we must become giants ourselves and then we must individually and collectively go to work ““ fill the gaping hole that is forming in the American psyche with the lives and service of people, who like those who went before us, were willing to pay the price, to make the contribution and, most of all, raise the children who would turn a quickly forming sinkhole into a mighty mountain from which that “shining light set on a hill” Reagan spoke of can send rays of hope to another generation and another generation, until time exists no more.