A Thirsty Crow

posted in: leadership lessons
Leadership Lesson of the Sisters of the Holy Cross

How do we model true leadership in these ever-changing, divisive times? With the words and actions of many world leaders called into question—and as we approach elections in the United States and abroad—how can the Sisters of the Holy Cross influence the discourse so that the essence of true leadership is exemplified? In this series, we contemplate the ancient wisdom found in fables and sayings from a variety of countries and cultures, illuminated by reflections from our sisters, that can inform our path forward as we strive to live as servant leaders in the model of Jesus.

by Sister Sumona Costa, CSC, Bangladesh 

There once was a crow who was very thirsty and looking for water. She searched and finally found a jar with a little water at the bottom. She was not able to reach the water and started thinking about how she could get to it. After pondering this for some time, she started collecting very small stones and throwing them inside the jar. At last, when the jar was filled with the stones, the water came up and she could drink. 

The point of this story is to never give up. As a leader, especially in today’s world, it is important to try and figure out how to handle situations without quickly giving up. Sometimes you have to share responsibility with others to discover new possibilities. These possibilities can be risky at times, but you cannot step back. Leaders understand the risks involved in leading; even when something might be frightening to do, the leader acts on it anyway.

A King with Scorpions in His Shoes

by Sister Lelia Santah, Ghana

There is this saying in my culture that says that:

“A king is a king who walks with scorpions in his shoes, but no one knows about them.”

To me, this phrase means that as leaders we face a lot of challenges and difficulties when working with others, but we should not complain or talk about how hard or difficult it is to be a leader. We need to keep on doing what is expected of us as leaders.

As a leader in today’s world and as a woman of Holy Cross, I experience challenges with society, the community and the church. In all of these challenges, I need to still be a woman of faith, self-discipline, patience and compassion, and to act with love and justice. I should be able to work without others knowing about all the challenges I am facing and how difficult it is to do my duties as a leader.

I chose this saying because it teaches me not to give up easily when there are challenges and difficulties with my ministry or the people I work with and serve. It reminds me that challenges are bound to happen any time that I find myself in a position of leadership. When this happens, I should not give up or tell everybody how difficult it is to be a leader or how challenging it is to work with the people I serve.