With my mind in neutral this morning it is hard to be analytical. Yet this is the time to reflect on the past year — and, in this case, the closing decade.
Having watched more TV and read more news than usual during the holidays, it seems that about all one could say about 2009 or the first decade of the new millennium has been said. Well, almost.
I would declare Christmas 2009 to the Year of Snuggie. My daughters — with Zebra print for one and Buzz, the Georgia Tech mascot, for the other — and most of their friends are wrapped up in their sleeved blankets now.
Speaking of football, the end of this year and decade could also be known as the time when college coaches went crazy.
One announced a life-changing career decision that was reversed the next day after a “spirited practice.” Another winning coach is canned just shy of a big payout — charged with putting a well-connected player in isolation and being insubordinate.
Obviously the collegiate game has become quite the pressure cooker. But I miss the old days when scores from other games actually moved across the bottom of the screen during bowl season rather than constantly revised coaching sagas.
Considering the bigger picture, as I’ve said, there has been plenty of analysis as the year and decade come to an end. However, the insight I’ll take with me came from Jon Meacham, the Chattanooga native who serves as editor of Newsweek.
In a discussion on MSNBC about the failure of partisan politics (on both sides) to serve our nation well, Meacham called for a new approach to leadership that balances “necessary humility and necessary confidence.”
Concerning humility, Meacham said, leaders “can’t act like we have all the answers.” Yet he noted the important difference between humility and timidity. That’s where confidence comes in.
A brighter future in national politics, the church and many other segments of society may well rest in emerging leadership that is humble enough to know they do not possess all the answers and confidence enough to believe that charting a better course is possible.