Dodging the Stones – My New Hero

My kids go to an amazing school – Community School of Davidson in North Carolina.  Recently, the entire school was invited to see a documentary called “Waiting for Superman” which was a documentary on education reform featuring Michelle Rhee, who was the Chancellor of the public school system in Washington DC.  I was unable to see this film, but now regret it and plan to find it somehow . . . she is my new hero!!!

I found Michelle to be so strong and a great speaker.  I admire her so much for her tenacity and her bravery as she took on one of the worst school districts in the nation.  As she was interviewed they showed clips of her at public school board meetings and people were whirling insults at her, calling her a racist and other awful things, and there were even threats out against her life!  And, yet, in the face of all of that she knew she had a cause and that cause was the education of thousands of children in the D.C. area.   Through her leadership and determination, the district achieved unprecedented growth in test scores and graduation rates, and reversed a trend of declining enrollment.  Michelle now runs a non-profit called whose mission is to promote the interests of children in public education.  Way to go!!!

There are many things I loved and admired about her, but the main thing was her bravery in the midst of adversity.  I know even here at my beloved church I am facing the stone throwers – just today I had two “comments” from connection cards that were not very flattering and actually quite rude.  I have a choice in those situations – read them, learn from them and move on, or let it get to me on a personal level and worry about it all day.  I choose to do the first one, but I tend to wallow in the latter.  Michelle very bluntly stated that, although insults were flying in her direction, she never took it personally.  It was the position they were hurling stones at, not her.  It was what she was doing that made people mad, not her as a person.  When asked how she was able to handle the anger that was directed at her she simply stated, “I’d rather have anger than apathy, so bring it on!”  Wow.

Change is hard on everyone and I’m sure that much of the anger she experienced from parents was fear of the changes she was proposing.  I feel that same fear here at HUMC as worship, staff, and programming changes come down the pike.  People are afraid, angry, confused, etc.  I totally get that.  But, as an ordained leader of this church it is my job to lead toward positive changes.  The bottom line is that if change is not happening, I’m not leading.  A good leader recognizes that and works toward those positive changes without fear of retaliation or anger from others.  A good leader lets God take control and be a major part of every decision made and every change implemented.  A good leader faces challenges head on and embraces the anger as the better choice over apathy.  I can only hope to ever be as good a leader as Michelle Rhee – she really is my new hero.

About revmonica

I'm the Director of Growth Ministries at Williamsons Chapel United Methodist Church and the proud wife of Steve and mommy to Morgan and Gavin.
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3 Responses to Dodging the Stones – My New Hero

  1. Russ Daum says:

    Monica – You love others as well as any person I know…that is what Christ asks us to do…

    I like the following passage about the subject of love…from Ist Corinthians…chapter 13…

    …to love others sometimes is difficult…
    …to love ourselves when we think maybe we are not loved by others is no less difficult…

    Where adversity is concerned I think this is a great collection of verses to rely upon…apply as Christ’s version of love asks…


    (From the biblegateway site)

    1 Corinthians 13
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    1 Corinthians 13

    The Excellence of Love

    1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
    4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [c]prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror [e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.


    • revmonica says:

      Thank you so much, Russ. You have a gift when it comes to pulling me back to where I need to be :). I do love, you’re right about that. I love this church and every single person in it!! Over the years I’ve learned how to dodge the stones and walk away with the faith I have that God is guiding me and it will all be okay. It’s not nearly what Michelle had to live through, but everyone wants to be loved and “liked” so it’s challenging when that does not always happen. 1 Corinthians is the cornerstone of what I read becuase it has been tremendously valuable in my personal and professional life (especially this year in my personal life). Love is a gift and something I treasure. Again, thank you, my dear friend 🙂

  2. Russ Daum says:

    Monica – You are welcome! I think you are awesome!

    We “all” need to take those verses from 1 Corinthians to heart…for me, the part about how love equates to “hope” speaks volumes…as a leader, follower, or anywhere in between, I continually have to take myself to task to expect the best in my thoughts, words and actions…Does “hope” in living as Christ did exist in all my relations to others? Hope is so powerful…it blooms in ways God understands best…I believe hope was present in Him when he created the earth and humanity along with it…knowing how to traverse the difficult path while allowing Christ, the Son of God, to grow our hope…and the hopes of others…that’s what leaders do…that’s what you do…keep on truckin’!

    Thanks for your reply to me and God Bless…

    I’m excited for Homecoming Sunday!


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