The best way a mentor can prepare another leader is to expose him or her to other great people. - John C. Maxwell
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. - Henry Adams
If you think education is expensive [difficult], then try ignorance. – Derek Bok [embellishment added]
The #1206 “fiction” series continues ….
Abigail stood in rapt silence, staring in horror at the scenes being portrayed on the myriad of displays in front of her. Rioting and violence offset by acts of courage continued unabated in cities across the nation as flashes of the best and worst of humanity passed before her eyes.
A group of men stood silently behind her, watching her intently.
“I don’t understand”, said Abigail to no one in particular. “No one told us that this could happen. In fact, anytime anyone mentioned this in public, they were always discredited as being fear mongers.”
“There was one who told you”, replied the tallest of the men. “As a matter of fact, he spent the latter years of his Life alerting others to this very possibility and to helping them maximize their strengths and talents for this very scenario. We sent him and others around the world to prepare the leaders of the future for the world that would come after this one.”
Abigail continued to stare at the displays in front of you. “But our government said that emergency preparedness meant having food, water and medications for 2-3 days at most. This is nothing like they ever described.”
The man stepped up beside her and observed the screens before them. Without taking his eyes off the screens, he said “If your government had ever said you would need supplies for 6 months to a year and that you would face mind-bending scenarios of the worst type imaginable, how do you think most people would have responded? If your government admitted that promises of military, fire crews, police or first responder help were empty promises, how would you respond to that, especially given that in the chaos you would have no means of communication to reach them or that they would be focused on taking care of their own families? Remember that when first responders responded to incidents in the past, the response plan relied on them having a stable place to execute from. Now consider that the entire nation is in chaos and that there is no stable place from which to execute operations.”
“Any demands for answers in regards to emergency preparedness would have created too many panic-laden questions directed at well-intentioned planners who had no answers and so they would slough off the questions with answers like “Don’t worry about it – we will take care of it” or “We can’t tell you because it’s a national security issue”. To deny or hide the truth was much easier for them but unfortunately produced much more difficulty for everyone else down the road. Many people lived from day to day with the irrational hope that nothing bad would every happen in their Life but unfortunately, the day that many feared but which most ignored has arrived.”
He paused for a moment before continuing again.
“Food, water, medical supplies, shelter and the like are all important. However, to tell people that communication, transportation and all other critical forms of infrastructure would also fail was a scenario that people could not and would not plan for and so it was never discussed. Recognizing that 18 key infrastructures on your planet were all powered by electricity reduced your 18 critical infrastructures down to 1 and nothing was done to protect it.”
“Do you know where my children are in all of this?”, Abigail asked nervously.
“Ah yes”, replied the man, “That was another key component that governments never explained and that was the importance of how to reconnect with people who are important to you in times of complete chaos. While we know where they are, you are unable to get to them at this time. That is why it was important that you raised them with the knowledge that if such end times ever occurred, that they knew how to survive without you.”
“And so why do you show me this?”, she asked.
The man hesitated before replying.
“Do you remember when you and Gabriel first connected? While the meeting seemed accidental, he came to you years ago as we had sent him. His purpose, along with the purpose of others we sent out, was to seek out those with the natural talents and strengths that you as a species would need to rise from the ashes of inevitable catastrophe. He and others, after finding those individuals, were required to give you the extra skills you would need to lead others as well as the courage, the strength and the wisdom necessary to use those gifts.”
“Why isn’t he here now then?”, she asked the man as tears welled up in her eyes.
“He was a messenger”, replied the man, “He was not meant to participate in the next part of human evolution. He was a messenger and a teacher and nothing more.”
Abigail’s mind tumbled confusingly back to her memories of Gabriel, their mentoring relationship that had blossomed into something else that he had said many times created complexity for his purpose. He had been so insistent that she learn a number of leadership, strategy and communication skills and that she learn them quickly. He also taught her how to make decisions under duress, a skill he insisted was very important. Her heart skipped a few beats as she realized that it was almost a year since he had been killed on a humanitarian trip with a number of colleagues.
Or at least that’s what she had been told about his death.
“Do you remember what he said was more important than anything else?”, the man asked.
“Yes”, Abigail, “He was always quoting something from the Bible that he said mattered more than anything else.”
“And what was that quote?”, the man asked gently as he turned and looked at her intently.
“Ummmm”, replied Abigail, “It was this. Be on your guard. Stand firm in your faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And all that you do, do it in love.”
“Yes”, replied the man, “All the people we sent out used the same quote. It is from the book of First Corinthians. chapter 16, verses 13 and 14.”
Abigail said nothing, reflecting on her years with Gabriel. In all of his fun, light-heartedness and kindness, he was a keen observer of the people around him and yet he always seemed to be carrying an unspoken burden. Now she knew what it was.
“You have been prepared for this moment”, said the man, “Your Life skills plus the things that Gabriel taught you were for a reason. That reason is now before you.”
“I don’t understand”, stammered Abigail.
“The world needs new leaders now, those who can lead with heart and hands. It needs people who can inspire but can also guide from their own real Life experience. We have worked diligently for years to make sure those leaders were in place when they were needed.”
“Do you mean me?”, asked Abigail, turning to face the man. “I can’t help these people.”
“You can and you will”, replied the man, “That has been your purpose all along. The world is waiting for your gifts and strengths. What are you waiting for?”
Another smaller man stepped up and whispered to the taller man that they were almost ready for Abigail to address the nation.
The taller man raised his hand to interrupt the messenger. “In a moment”, he commanded.
Looking at Abigail again, he said quietly but forcefully, “It is time, Abigail. This is why you are here. This is why Gabriel was sent to you. It is time to fulfill your purpose. Honor Gabriel now by answering the call that he prepared you for.”
Abigail returned his stare, swallowed hard and nodded quietly as she felt her body begin to shake in fear and apprehension.
To be continued.
© 2014 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved
I have always been intrigued by the power of a mentor, whether the guidance comes in the form of knowledge, direction or just a kind word.
We all need mentors and we all mentor people every day through our words and our actions, either explicitly or implicitly.
If we understood the potential impact of who / what we learn / share from / with, then maybe, just maybe we would take the importance of mentoring more seriously.
You never know – what you learn or share may save a Life someday …. or many … soon.
In regards to the observation about infrastructure, the warning is true. There are 18 key infrastructures that all rely on one - electricity. It is extremely vulnerable and there is currently no plan to protect it (and us) from compromise or total loss. If things go dark, they may stay dark for a very long time.
There are also some interesting musings, some public, about the principle of 72 (or 96) hours to anarchy, the time it takes society to degrade into total chaos should a catastrophic event occur.
I think they provide interesting food for thought.
What do you think?
This series, a departure from my usual musings, is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks as well as my own professional background as a Wall St. / Fortune 25 strategy and large-scale technology architect.
While this musing is just “fiction” and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)
This “fictional” musing is a continuation of the #1206 series noted here.