The Conscience… It’s For Others As Much As It Is For You

You know when you have the “gut feeling” about something? Or that “inner voice” you sometimes hear? Call it what you want, but you cannot say that something is not happening… Maybe a tingly feeling.

Your conscience, it’s there… but the question of the day is, “Do you listen to it?” Yes, or no… the decisions you make because of your conscience affect others as well.

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The value of our conscience is a repeated theme throughout our leadership. Clear or muddy, a value is placed. However, how much weight do we put on having that clear conscience in leadership? (We are not speaking of relativism here) External factors aside, no one can really say what they would do regarding the decisions we make. They might say, “Well, I would have…” Yes, that is true, but they really, really cannot say.

We all have, at one point or another, struggled with decisions. Those decisions that keep us up at night, make us fidgety, cause stress… it happens in leadership. While we might see this as a nuisance, I think we should welcome it instead of seeing our conscience as a hindrance in our lives. Decision-making starts on the inside, and for leaders who lead without a conscience, well… it affects others, and it flies in the face of many. So often, we see self-absorbed leaders whose decision-making only affects the results they want. If there is a conscience, it is not working, or they are deaf.

Our conscience is essential in leadership and the role it plays with decision-making. It’s a beacon that keeps us on the right path, alerts us of dangers, and eases our minds. However, I also believe that our conscience is programmed with a life of reflection of our actual selves. How we live our lives, in some ways, determines our decisions and many of those are conscience-driven. Needless to say, everyone’s conscience is not the same.

Nothing is more destructive in leadership than a conscience that relishes self. In the end, our conscience is our witness to our leadership, seen by the decisions made and the long-term effect they have on others.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

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Sinkholes and Leadership… It’s a Foundational Problem

Sinkholes – You never know they are there… until the last moment when you step into one. A mirage on the surface, a bottomless abyss under… Indeed, a foundation problem, and we only see the results of them after time.

Over time, in either case, underlying “shifting” goes on. The same can be said for leadership in society and, in some cases, within ourselves.

Think about it in these terms… a sinkhole is an area of ground where water drains no other way than down and stays right there—all that water, all the junk; nowhere to go. Somewhere, something is going on underneath the surface. Sinkholes “just don’t happen.” Slowly, small incremental changes over time, and… wow, there it is. And that is when we ask ourselves, “How did that get there?”

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I offer this analogy as to what we see in many areas of leadership today. What happened with leadership where it is no longer loyal, servant-based, others first? One could argue that some leaders are just a sinkhole, to begin with; yes, that is probably true. But what about leaders who start out with a great foundation? No one sees the eroding, wasting away.

Trust in authentic leadership is quickly dissolving in our society, but it has gradually happened, and we have allowed it. Somewhere, we have compromised here and there. While others have taken a hard-line stance, others just agree to disagree and move closer to their thinking. Through said compromise and our own passiveness, we are the ones who are helping create sinkholes. Instead of filling them up and hardening the foundation to stand, we will still allow it to be watered down, knowing that the water has no place to go beyond staying in that sinkhole.

I always end my classes with this, “Society needs good people, go forth and prosper.” We know what good leadership should be and what it should look like. However, we must also affirm that. When we/others start leading with self-based interests, no loyalty, passive-aggressiveness, you name it… the leadership foundation disappears. Unseen to the eye, until we have stepped into it or the crack is so big, no amount of repair can help.

We had a sinkhole in our yard a good time back, maybe ten years or so. It was big. I asked that same question as stated above, “How did that get there?” That sinkhole does not exist anymore. I went to HomeDepot and bought a weeping willow sapling for $9.95, end of the year plant sale. That sapling looked bad (think Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree). We planted that tree in that sinkhole with good dirt, staked it to grow upright, and of course… showed it some love. We rebuilt the foundation, the roots took hold, and we now have a huge weeping willow in our yard.

As leaders, let’s do our part to at least try to see areas where sinkholes and foundation problems can occur and be proactive in making sure that we do what we need to do to keep it from falling in. Once it falls, much work has to be done for it to become solid again.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on…

Twitter @thebookchamber

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Resurrection Morning

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If you would like to download a printer friendly version of this with background, click here: resurrection-morning2

Resurrection Morning


Our nature…
At enmity against God.

Sin brought division,
Iniquities caused separation.

Crucified and buried,
Deepest of sorrows.

Three days…
God’s Word, Jesus - thought silent.

Sorrowfulness turned to joy…
When? 

Resurrection morning!

Our sins now put away,
Our understanding opened.

A reason to rejoice,
For a peace that is real.

A privilege in sharing,
With Him in His reign.

Bringing comfort and joy,
Worshiping and praising.

The Truth of Christianity,
Foundational of our belief.

Without it,
We have no hope.

Jesus, seen by the eye of faith…
Author and Finisher!

Resurrection morning…
The Lord is risen indeed!

Happy Easter!

© J Clay Norton, 2021

For 2020 Easter Thoughts click here: The Lamb’s Precious Blood
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The 4th Nine Weeks Stretch…

Well, here we are. We have made it—the 4th nine weeks. Just like the 7th Inning stretch in baseball, the end is in sight. For 27 weeks, educators have taught like they never have before. In our teaching, we have dug deeper, gone further, taught harder, and almost exhausted every bit of teaching methodology we know. And, one more thing… most educators have now perfected what I call “Eduzoomcation.

With all of that being said, we are still not done. As I have spoken with other teachers, many are trying to fit lessons in on top of regular lessons just to get their students where they need to be to progress to what they need to know. The idea of incremental development of lessons has never been more important, but the time factor has many teachers pressing.

More importantly, what we cannot do is compare our teaching and pacing of our subjects to years past. If you do, it will devalue what you have done and accomplished this year. It may not seem as much, but considering everything, it is much. Many teachers have turned into accepting minor roles of psychologists while they teach, asking themselves what they can do to reach one more student and trying to figure out the best way forward. As I told someone the other day, teaching this year during the COVID pandemic is worthy of a resume bullet.

This time last year, we found out that we would not be coming back to school for the 4th nine weeks. Now here we are at that same point one year later. The good news… we still have an opportunity as educators to make good on what we do. It does not matter if students are still on Zoom or in the classroom. What matters is that we stay committed to the values of what education should do… to help better society by educating students for the future.

The 4th nine weeks stretch… Go ahead and stretch… but know, like baseball, there are a few more innings to play, and they matter. If you get complacent, odds are your students will also. And please do not get into what I call the “hook-slide.” While we are rounding third-base, per se, beat the throw at home plate. Don’t try to “hook-slide” in; you might just get tagged out.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2021 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on…

Twitter @thebookchamber

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