A Christmas Parable On Leadership
by August Turak
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. - T. S. Eliot
I am an incurable romantic and when I was a boy most of life’s romance coalesced around Christmas. Doubtless inspired by all those Victorian Christmas scenes, when I was seven-years-old I decided to try my hand at Christmas caroling. Somehow I managed to convince five boys in my neighborhood to join my expedition, but when I called on them later that night every one of them fearfully reneged on his promise. Heartbroken, I secretly made a fateful decision: I would go Christmas caroling all by myself.
I ransacked the house for a flashlight, but all I could find was my Dad's railroad lantern. The lantern was too heavy for my arms; so I heaved it onto my shoulder and set off down the center of our quiet suburban street singing Silent Night at the top of my lungs. It was dark, windy, and bitterly cold. I didn't encounter a single soul or set of headlights. I couldn't even coax a curious porch light into flickering on in sympathy. But I soldiered on anyway. About a quarter mile from my house there was a mail box: a dark blue metal landmark we often used as boys for a meeting spot or finish line for a bicycle race. When I reached the mail box I decided I had made my point, so I turned around and headed home still singing as loud as I could.
When my house finally reappeared there was a dim figure covered with snow flurries standing at the end of my driveway. It was my Mom. I sprinted toward her outstretched arms, but it was only when I finally found myself safely enveloped in that fur collared camel hair coat that I remember so well that the tears I’d been manfully holding back finally came.