Aug. 27, 2010: Leaders have the potential to show us a peaceful path, by Hadrian Currier

August 27, 2010 by

Every nation has a leader, whether it’s a president, prime minister, king, dictator or a governing group. Groups and corporations also have leaders. Even in a group of friends there are leaders and followers. Leaders play a very important role in a group, guiding followers in the right direction in pursuit of a common goal.

But if our leaders do not follow a peaceful path, how can we expect everyone else to find the right way?

As we grow up, we are challenged to find our identity, and early on it becomes apparent who will be leaders among our peers. At these early stages, any person can choose to be a peaceful leader, or he or she can choose to follow a violent or destructive path. The choices that are made at this stage are influenced by everything in a young person’s environment. Teachers, principals, parents and peers all can have an impact on a teenager’s development. But ultimately, it is the individual’s choice what influences to surround him- or herself  with.

No leader can hope to make all of the right decisions, which is why leaders surround themselves with people who can help them make wise choices. Those advisers and friends can be the most important environmental factors in decision making. By surrounding oneself with sensible advisers with admirable character, a leader will have someone to lean on when he or she doesn’t know what to do. These people can help a leader make the best decisions possible.

Leaders have the opportunity to change their surroundings by influencing those around them positively or negatively. As leaders, these people have the ability to change policies and opinions of their peers or the country or corporation they are responsible for. Young leaders can sway the opinions and behaviors of their classmates just as a president can sway the opinions of the nation.

Leaders cannot ensure that they will be followed just by the words they speak. Their actions speak for themselves. If they lead by example as well as advocating their cause, they will ensure that more people follow suit. Advocating nonviolent solutions, as well as employing diplomacy and negotiation tactics to solve problems, will eventually influence others to do the same.

Our nation’s leaders, elected by the people, reflect the desire of our country. These leaders have the power to lead our nation into war, or negotiate peaceful solutions. Some people believe war may be necessary, as in the defense of our country it may be, but unnecessary violence should not be tolerated. Leaders of our country can pass legislation to fight violence in our communities as well. Big decision-makers pave the way for our young leaders.

From the student council president to the president of the United States, our leaders have many choices to make.

The choices a leader makes, influenced by his or her environment, can better our community or mankind. Leaders must live with the repercussions of their decisions, as they affect all around them.  By making peaceful decisions, it is only a matter of time before everyone follows suit and the world becomes a better place.

— Hadrian Currier is a freshman at Concordia High School. He is the son of Jim and Angie Currier.

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