Leading with Love

by | Feb 14, 2023

By Mrs. Wilson,
Principal on the Island of Promise

I was challenged a few weeks ago by Paul Richardson’s question, “How are you leading today?” One of my 4th graders, Ani, struggles in school a lot. A few weeks ago we had an English test, and she couldn’t do any of it. There was an easy part where she just had to draw lines, which anyone in our Pre-K classes could do, and she couldn’t do it. I was so frustrated with her, I felt like she wasn’t trying.

I tried to remember what Mr. Richardson said about leading her. He challenged us to truly look at those we are leading, try to understand them deeply, see where they are coming from, bring out their best qualities and help them grow where they are weak. So, I talked to Ani to find out what was going on. Turns out, she hadn’t eaten all day. Here, on the Island of Promise, a strong caste system still exists and Ani comes from the lowest class, which some perceive as “slaves.” Her parents can’t read or write, and usually she relies on a sponsor to pay her school fees. Each day after school, she goes home to complete certain jobs and responsibilities to serve her master, aka the “King” of the village.

Ani continued to explain that her mom was sick, and because of her slave status, she wasn’t allowed to take rice from the rice pot until her master took rice in the morning. That meant no rice before leaving for school, and since her mom was sick, there was no one to bring rice to her at school.

Her teacher, Randy (a TfN intern) bought her a simple lunch of yellow rice and vegetables, costing only $0.35. Amazingly, after lunch, she could do the ESL test!

It was a learning moment for me. Leading and teaching with love is what Jesus did while walking on Earth, and what He asks of us. That’s the point.