Free the Hostages

A lot of my work is with communities. I have the privilege of helping people identify and define problems, then I provide them with good information, resources and tools to make good decisions for their community. It is really amazing work, and I love what I do.

I have been part of some incredible maturing in the past three months as two communities I have worked with have realized that they have allowed themselves to be held hostage by people whose need for control and lack of ability to exercise that control with any responsibility have put relationships and livelihoods at risk.

When someone wants to control a situation through arrogance and refusal to be held accountable, they had better be doing a damn good job. When they don’t, and the truth comes out, they really dig their own hole as the hostages realize that they are being held by very thin restraints.

It’s why I am so passionate about providing people with good information. Sound information. The truth. The truth sets people free. It is setting two communities free, and that is such a powerful experience to share in.

When people realize that they have been manipulated by distortions of the truth, outright lies and patterns of abusive behavior, and they decide for themselves that they will no longer be held hostage, the reckoning is a thing of beauty. When people have the tools they need to make good decisions and to serve their communities with integrity, the result is close to magic. When people are empowered by good information they achieve really great things, and so many people can benefit.

When you lead a community, you are held to a higher standard. When you claim to have answers and authority you had better have good ones. If you don’t, the people who want better than what you offer will realize that you are the one standing in the way of better, and they will not let you stand.

In both of my recent experiences, they will ask you to sit at the table with them. And if you refuse because your pride will not permit you to join, they will mourn your loss. But they will not let you stand over them when they are busy working toward positive change.

I don’t free the hostages. I get to applaud as they free themselves. I love it.