Education Editorial: Leading with humility

By: Bill Bosher - email

The Virginia Standards of Learning include content (skills and knowledge) in English, math, science and the social sciences. While history is perhaps the foundation of the social sciences, it also includes civics, economics, and geography. With the Presidential election behind us perhaps we should share with students how closely related these disciplines have become.

As noted before, my favorite economic term is "opportunity cost." What do I have to give up or forgo to make any choice or decision? If I want a new car and I don't have enough money or credit, I need to sell something… or give up monthly expenses to make the payments. The economic "law of comparative advantage" is exchanging something with a high opportunity cost for something with a relatively lower one. We compromise!

This summer I heard Jim Collins, author of "Good to Great," speak to 26 governors in Williamsburg. He stated that years of research had rendered that the great leaders distinguished themselves from the good ones because of humility. He also told the governors that political leaders must realize that their most important work will be on initiatives that they will not personally experience… or for which they may not receive credit.

So, here's the new government lesson: Lead with humility having discerned those principles that are critical, negotiate or forgo those practices and programs of lowest value, and work like someone else's future depends on it. And as I heard President Reagan say to a group of educators: working with students and Congress is not really different… they both like recess!

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