In the previous blog, I wrote about the helpful other. The helpful other is a person who can open our eyes for new possibilities. They can stimulate our creativity to re-imagine our lives, i.e. both the core projects (our work and tasks) and our relationships (with the self and with fellow human beings). These helpful others can help us in three important ways.
First, the helpful other is a source that can assist us to discover and understand the deepest needs of the world. I have friends who opened my eyes for the need of those stigmatised in the crisis of AIDS. Others helped me to see the true realities of poverty, and yet others for the struggle of young men to find a place of value in a fast changing world – to name only three aspects of the need around me.
Second, the helpful others are important in helping me to be more self-aware, less judgemental, and to be present in the here and now. I cannot close my eyes to the need of the world, and I may not withhold my gifts from the needy. The helpful others can and should hold me accountable for the way I respond to the world.
Third, they can help me to understand the changes in the world, and to imagine the future. Increasingly, we realise that this imagined future requires a new way of thinking about the world and the way we live. We can talk about the impact of technological development on being human, the challenges we face with migration, the changes in civilisation (and thus values, anthropology, spirituality etc.) that happens around us. We humans are soft wired to belong and to relate with others, not to fear and abuse others. All this suggest that servant leaders must be real and humble persons. We need to re-think the way we relate.
Empathy, eyes and imagination – embedded in relationships with helpful others – are the building blocks of hope and meaning.