“A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside himself or herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.” Parker Palmer, Leading from Within
I have read quite a number of statements about leadership, but this one has arrested my attention like few others. Chaplains are leaders. If you were to use “Chaplain” in place of “leader” that statement would read: “A Chaplain is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside himself or herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of chaplaincy create more harm than good.” How true is that!
There are some Chaplains who have slipped through the CPE process without being scathed by a deep and bold personal inventory and have wandered into chaplaincy stubborn, indifferent to the needs of patients, and reckless in their application of spiritual care. They are still the parish pastor with all the brashness that goes with that.
However, the Chaplains that makes a difference in the lives of patients and families has taken the time and effort to do a fearless personal inventory of what’s going on inside of him/herself so that the act of chaplaincy benefits all involved. There is sensitivity to the religious beliefs held by patients and families. There is a humble application of spiritual care without rushing the issue. There is a deep interest in the lives of patients and families and it shows.
I call upon all who go by the moniker of Chaplain to hold oneself accountable and take special responsibility for what’s going on inside so that the act of chaplaincy is unhindered and beneficial.