Leading for the Broader Welfare


“…use your capacities for goals that are larger than your own
self-aggrandizement and that contribute to the broader welfare…”
–Howard Gardner
The Anatomy of Leadership


Yesterday, I joined the Student Council meeting at lunch for a few minutes. I was impressed with the order and professionalism of the meeting, and I encouraged them to think about what their leadership role might look like at Crossroads. Our students are great sources of problem solving, service, and leadership, and Student Council is just one means for them to think about and practice these skills.

Empowering students to take on leadership roles and to engage in the leadership of the school takes consistent invitation, frequent encouragement to take on tasks and ideas that might not seem in the realm of influence for young people, and timely and specific feedback. We have great models and sources for this in the faculty, staff, and community at Crossroads. We also teach students think beyond their own immediate concerns or interests. Our engagement as a school in Good Work, in activity, in community events and traditions, and other important extracurricular activities gives us time to practice being in relationship, empathy, and good listening.

With intention and with practice, students are better able to think about how their capacities can be used for goals larger than their own. With planning and opportunity, students can think about ways to contribute to a world broader than their personal experiences and situations. When ask students to consider their personal mission before a college major, this is some of what I mean. I want students to consider what college major will build their capacity to contribute to a better and broader world. This is also what we mean when we say that our students are smart and good. It is not enough for Crossroads students to be intelligent. We expect them to use their intelligence as a tool, as a way of being good, and as a means of problem solving, service, and leadership for people and ideas bigger than their own.

With great expectations,