The morning traffic officer at 42nd and Fifth Avenue knows her job: keep traffic moving and enforce stoplights. She pirouettes like a dancer, dodges like a soccer player, and shouts like a sailor. It works.

Same with the man who runs Berger’s Deli, where I buy coffee. Different context, but same rapid cycles of change and need.

When I speak briefly at my son’s wedding in California this weekend, I want to extol two virtues: knowing one’s job and being radically nimble in the face of change. Once they wed, their “jobs” change, and our duty as families is to affirm those changes. New loyalties, new ways to set priorities and make decisions, new goals – and all of it in a context that, like the stock market, is gyrating wildly.

There’s no perfect time to launch a marriage. This is as good as any. But they will need clarity and nimbleness.


Q: How do we get the leaders to stop the bullying and the fear of it?

A: I doubt that we can convince current leaders to stop bullying. It’s working for them. Besides, they seem too weak to compromise and too narrow-minded to imagine other possibilities. In a democracy, however, we can vote for other leaders.

Fear is in our control. We can choose not to be bullied or to approach our neighbors, communities or nation from a posture of fear. One way to do that is to add our own voices to the debates. Not wait for some champion or church leader to do so, but to do it ourselves. We have many ways to speak. While each of them reaches only a few, the cascading effect can be substantial.

Fear only works in secret and silence. When we stand in the open and speak publicly, fear is vanquished.

Special opportunity coming up to participate in eight webinars on “Turnaround Strategies” for churches. I will offer these in collaboration with Presyterian Outlook. They’re intended for bold and aggressive church leaders. Use the link in the right column.