Being kind in the hardest times.
I have trained more than 800 leaders
and coached multiple organizations to identify and address their challenges and, hopefully, avoid crises.
I include kindness, communication, and compassion in all my speaking events. When talking about challenges, every situation is unique. I am happy to talk with organization planners about customized presentations.
Kindness in Crisis
During my years of managing organizations, I have experienced multiple crises. They have all helped shape my interest and passion for kindness.
Here are three crises that taught me to lead with kindness
one of the largest wildfires in San Diego history swept Rancho Bernardo
365 residences were destroyed, all in Rancho Bernardo
40 of the 365 residents were members of the church where I was the Executive Pastor. Their leaders and members sought to strategically deploy actions and services that fire victims would experience as kindness. That intentionality continued through several years of recovery.
I was two weeks into the position of Executive Director/Pastor when the fires began. There were members who had lost their homes in similar fires a few years earlier who stepped up immediately. I was incredibly grateful to learn from them. In 2017, fire survivors gathered at the church for a ten-year reunion acknowledging the kindness of that congregation.
the church and supervisor I worked for were sued
As the church's media contact, I interacted with news outlets.
The care and safety of any victims were the most important and immediate priorities
Everything in me wanted to reach out to those involved. After all, they were members of my church. Of course, lawyers and circumstances did not allow personal contact. I learned I could best help by trying to ensure our organization did everything it could for everyone affected. Eventually, the case was settled in a manner satisfactory to all parties. The results remain confidential.
I was not named or included in the lawsuit
I was the executive director/pastor of the church and therefore, its spokesperson and contact with the media, To the best of my ability, I was responsible for the well-being of individuals directly involved as well as 2000 church members.
Ensuring it never happened again
Once support for victims was assured and the legal process was complete, my team and I led the church's recovery process to ensure the safety of vulnerable children and adults going forward.
Seeking outside guidance and accountability
In 3 years, the church achieved some of the highest standards for safety and training among churches nationwide and received national recognition for its efforts.
I led a committed team of staff who guided the organization's risk assessment and implemented specific actions to proactively address the lessons we learned.
after a rigorous site visit and an extensive review of its policies and physical campus, the church received national accreditation by Praesidum.
After children were safe
and the church was accredited
I studied the weaknesses in the church, developed an intervention, wrote a doctoral thesis paper, and published a book and workbook for churches and their members to address issues like the ones we faced.
I have led multiple churches and trained more than 800 leaders to identify and address their hidden challenges.
Lessons I've Learned from this crisis
I'm not an expert but I am happy to share what I know. Check these suggestions with professionals.
1. Establish child safety as a core value. Make it clear that child safety is a top priority for your organization and that you are committed to creating a safe and supportive environment for all children. Be certain your people know you are serious about this core value.
2. Conduct regular background checks on all staff and volunteers. This will help to ensure that the organization is taking steps to protect children from individuals who may pose a risk. This practice may receive pushback from both staff and volunteers. Be relentless.
3. Normalize the reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities. Be clear that you expect employees to submit reports promptly and have a manager do it with them. Support them and don't make them do it alone. This is essential to ensure that children who have been abused or neglected receive the help they need.
Resources I've used
Again, I'm no expert. I have found these tools and information helpful.
covid was devastating frontline workers everywhere including where I was first a volunteer then a hospital chaplain
Patients were isolated. Family members sometimes were only able to stand at the door and talk over the phone. The nursing staff was stressed. Once, with everyone wearing masks and quarantine warnings on every door, one nurse took my hand and did a little dance in the middle of the hallway, saying "Sometimes we have to dance or we will all cry."
Kindness is an important quality in any setting, but it is especially important in a hospital. Patients and their families are often going through a difficult time, and a small act of kindness can make a big difference.
There are many ways to show kindness in a hospital. You can:
Smile and greet patients and their families warmly.
Offer to help with small tasks, such as getting a cup of water or bringing a blanket.
Listen to patients and their families without judgment.
Offer words of comfort and support.
Pray for patients and their families.
Even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference in someone's day, especially when they are feeling scared or alone. If you are ever in a hospital, take a moment to show kindness to someone who needs it. You may just make their day a little bit brighter.
Kindness is essential in times of crisis
Here are some examples of how kindness has helped people in crisis:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have shown kindness in many ways, such as donating food and supplies to those in need, volunteering to help with essential services, and supporting local businesses.
After natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, people have come together to help each other rebuild their lives.
Kindness is a powerful force that can make a difference in the world. In times of crisis, it is more important than ever to show kindness to others.
Here are some acts of kindness others have done in a crisis:
Volunteering your time to help others.
Donating to a cause that you care about.
Being a listening ear for someone who needs to talk.
Doing something nice for a stranger, such as holding the door open for them or giving them a compliment.
Spreading positive messages of hope and support.
Kindness is contagious. When we show kindness to others, it inspires them to be kind as well. This can create a ripple effect of kindness that can have a positive impact on our communities and the world.