I have been an Obama fan since he was first brought to my attention by one of my great Leader/Manager heroes, Colin Powell long before the brouhaha of the presidential election. Back in 2006 at the Leaders in London conference, Powell was asked who he thought the great leaders of the day were and the first name out of his mouth was Barak Obama. The response had people like me scribbling in their notebook of this name most had never even heard of never mind held up by one of the great leaders of all time as one of the great leaders of present time.
As a result, I followed the recent Democratic National Convention with great interest and was delighted with the some great deliveries of some great messages. I was particularly taken by a central part of the speech by Joe Biden accepting his nomination for the vice presidential slot. He talked a lot about picking oneself up again after being knocked down.
“You know, my mom taught her children — all the children who flocked to our house — that you’re defined by your sense of honor and you’re redeemed by your loyalty. She believes that bravery lives in every heart, and her expectation is that it will be summoned. Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable. As a child, I stuttered, and she lovingly would look at me and tell me, “Joey, it’s because you’re so bright you can’t get the thoughts out quickly enough.” When I was not as well-dressed as the other kids, she’d look at me and say, “Joey, oh, you’re so handsome, honey, you’re so handsome.” And when I got knocked down by guys bigger than me — and this is the God’s truth — she sent me back out and said, “Bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day.” And that’s what I did. You know — and after the accident (car accident which killed Biden’s wife), she told me, she said, “Joey, God sends no cross that you cannot bear.” And when I triumphed, my mother was quick to remind me it was because of others.”
Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden fostered resilience, saw the silver linings in shortcomings and nurtured her quite remarkable son to rise each time he fell.