This week’s parsha (Torah Portion) is Sh’lach L’cha, meaning “Send you”, describes when Moses sends twelve spies to gather intelligence on the land and the people that are living in Canaan, the land G-d promised the Israelites. While the spies are away, Moses assures the people that everything will work out and that the spies are really just due diligence. When all but two of the spies return with news of giants and perilous danger, not only does Moses find himself in a pickle as a leader, the spies who came back with the less-than-optimal report were killed and their tribes sent to wander in the desert for another 40 years.
How will Moses, the leader of the Israelites, recover from this one?
At camp, we try to come back to our 6 core values to guide us in decision making: Intention, Growth, Teamwork, Leadership, Sportsmanship and Pride. Let’s take a look at how our values help us address the situation:
Intention – As leaders, our words have great power and influence on those that follow us. It’s important for us to be mindful of the promises we make. Moses had the right idea with sending out spies, but he jumped the gun and made promises that he couldn’t keep.
Growth – Great leaders with a growth mindset, know that in order to improve you have to be willing to make mistakes. It can be tempting, especially if you have a fixed mindset, to assign the blame for a failure to others instead of taking a step back, evaluating your actions and searching for ways to do it better next time.
Teamwork – In order to build a strong team or community, there must be a foundation of trust and in order to cultivate that trust there be clear lines of communication. A great leader will speak honestly with their followers and be prepared to respond and change directions if something should go wrong.
Leadership – So much of leadership is about understanding your own strengths and weaknesses and being able to ask for help. It’s also about being open to feedback, both positive and negative, so that you can understand different perspectives.
Pride– By understanding our strengths and seeking out ways to contribute those gifts to our community, we not only display pride in ourselves but, by extension, pride for being a part of something larger. Just like speaking with intention, we have to take pride in our conduct because we are an extension of our community.
Sportsmanship– Sometimes, we only notice the weaknesses of the other team because we are looking for ways to feel superior and reinforce our preparedness for a game. The best athletes respect their opponents and want to learn as much about them as possible because confronting an opponent that challenges us is a powerful test of character and strength.
Here at camp we are building a community built on trust – in ourselves and in our teammates. Each person on our staff is a leader, each with our own strengths and areas for improvement. By keeping our values at the foundation of everything we say and do, we will in turn help our campers develop into the leaders of tomorrow.