Like many people, I still vividly remember September 11, 2001. I was 16 years old, it was my junior year in high school, and I was in Mr. Blumke’s AP Psychology class a little confused about what was really going on. Did a pilot just crash because he was drunk? Was there a terrible accident because of weather? I had no clue. All I heard was two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. At that point in my life I had never even visited New York City so I was unsure of what the Twin Towers were. Also unlike today, there was no Facebook or Twitter giving accounts of what was going on and all we had was the news. When the first reports came out, nobody was really sure what happened. Mr. Blumke somberly played the news report and various students were teary eyed stricken with emotion, grief, and wondering whether or not their families in New York City were alright.
During a commercial Mr. Blumke said something very profound, “I know you all are young right now, but one day you will realize how important this day is in American history.” I had no idea what Mr. Blumke was talking about when he said that, and perhaps even today 16 years later I still don’t fully understand it, but I want to add some progressive commentary to this day, 9/11.
I believe 9/11 was an inside job.
Now before you unfriend me, unfollow me, and big men in dark suits with sunglasses come to my house and reprimand me, let me be clear. I am not speaking about the conspiracy theories that the United States allowed these things to happen. That’s not the place for this. This was a painful day for thousands of families and I don’t take that lightly at all. What I mean by an inside job is as a collective nation we are to grow inside to overcome the tragedies outside.
Just as a seed contains all the strength and potential inside itself to break through the soil to sprout and grow, we have all the strength and potential inside ourselves to overcome anything that we may face. What the terrorists tried to do didn’t work the way they wanted to and as individuals there are 3 things we should take from 9/11:
Terrible and bad things will happen in life.
Sixteen years ago nobody saw this coming. If you are in a fight, the worst punch is the one you don’t see. The worst tragedies are the ones that you do not see coming. As leaders we have to be as prepared as possible for the terrible things that will happen in our organization. People will leave, people will talk about you without cause, people will be disrespectful, amongst many other things. Do your best to have policies in place to deal with terrible and bad things. Like the horrific tragedy of 9/11, make sure that tragedies don’t destroy us, but rather they galvanize and edify.
Open up the lines of communication.
When bad, unfortunate, and unquestionable things happen in the country, at your school, or anywhere else people want to talk. Whenever there is an issue within your organization great or small, make sure you allow your members to talk about it. Don’t just have meaningless dialogue, let your members vent, and then offer solutions or ask them to offer solutions for others. The issue that surfaces with many of these types of forums is they do not offer solutions, they just allow people to dump about things they don’t like. While venting is necessary, it is also necessary to start the problem solving process.
Don’t stop doing good work.
Ancient script says it like this: And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. The 9/11 attacks were designed to cripple our country. We are still here and in many regards we are better for it. Sure it is a little tougher to get on an airplane, but things are taken a lot more seriously. Whatever happens in your organization, in your family, or in the country, don’t stop. You are unstoppable. The reason why most of us are stopped is because we make the decision to stop. Don’t you let any obstacle deter you from your mission. Don’t let circumstances shrink your potential and stomp out your strength. If you are still here, you have a purpose. Live it out. I honor the lives of those that have gone on by living to spread the goodness of my Creator and my purpose.
9/11 was an “inside” job. As terrible as it was, we are all better inside. We are all stronger inside, and will continue to be. Do good no matter what. The only thing that can overcome evil is good. Be one of the best at being good. We owe it to all of those who were lost to this terrible tragedy.