Written by: Noah Podolnick, NFTY-PAR President
NFTY-PAR is great. It’s great because each and every one of us are a part of it. It’s great because every individual PARites opinion is valued and taken into serious consideration and thought. The only issue is that not everyone is aware of this. If you have an idea, constructive criticism, or if a certain program just rubs you the wrong way; I know I would want to hear about it. I would want to accommodate you and explore every course of action possible to make sure you are satisfied and feel as if something has actually has been done. The same goes for things you may love and would love to keep seeing.
Good leaders keep the status quo. They ensure the ship doesn’t sink and that people can keep enjoying what they’ve already been enjoying for a long time. However, a great leader does not just keep the status quo; a great leader works to alter the status quo by speaking up and being persistent in demanding that things change, in order to reach desired goals and objectives. But the key to being a great leader is knowing that you don’t have all the answers even though you may love to act like you do (like I do), because you don’t.
We used to be primitives living in caves unorganized and chaotic. The only reason we have been able to get where we are as a species is because when individuals didn’t know the answer they listened to those that did. Even when an individual did know the answer they told others and worked with others. Leadership at the end of the day is a two-sided coin. The notion that an individual can be a leader while also being a participant.
This brings me back to how we value each and every one’s opinion. If we as participants embrace the idea that we all have the ability speak our minds and truly have the want and desire to see change; then as a community, we will have laid the foundation for an even greater NFTY-PAR. The greatest thing we can do is hear each other out.
Our speaker at SLK this summer, Dr. Marcia Fiedler, while I found her program absolutely amazing and relatable; many of my fellow PARites felt the exact opposite. In reference to her implications that we all hold different prejudice’s I think we can all agree. Even though I cannot speak for all, I believe where many PARites took issue was in presentation and specific scenarios/ stories. While observing her program I found that it had hit home with things I would hear at school and actually had experienced in my life. On the other hand, participants who had not experienced some of the scenarios presented, found them un-relatable and at times offensive. While it is completely your right to disagree with me; I believe she wanted some of us to feel offended, she wanted some of us to get up and say “No this is not okay.” While a major objective of hers was obviously to talk about and explore our own prejudices and in terms of microaggressions; I believe a hidden objective was to teach us to speak out when things upset us and things weren’t going the way we thought they should. In this sense she wanted us to be leaders and speak our minds while being participants.
In this case it may have not always been the most comfortable to speak your mind. Out of fear of being shot down, completely missing the point, or the million other reasons our minds come up with for not speaking out. However, these are the times that are the most important to speak out and have your opinions heard. Regardless of all the reasons not to, you might just have a point. I believe making that point far outweighs that your thought might not go anywhere.
Speak up, Speak out, Speak now. Speak to your fellow PARites. Speak about how we can move our region forward in collaborative ways; so that we as a community can shape an ever evolving region of leaders.