“Wherever you may be in life in terms of leadership, even if it’s just being the leader of your own household, ultimately leadership means standing up for the right thing every time.”
Maranatha was honored to host Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at its campus assembly on Thursday, February 5. Those attending the assembly included Wisconsin State Representative John Jagler and Watertown Mayor John David, as well as approximately 900 students, faculty, staff, and guests from the community. Walker defined leadership and offered examples of leaders in his own life who continue to impact his decision-making and the way he governs the state.
MBU President Marty Marriott opened the assembly, praying that Walker would “challenge us for leadership and challenge us for the future.” Dr. Mike Dean’s introduction of Walker included a brief history of Wisconsin Baptists and the note that Walker’s father pastored one of the original Wisconsin Baptist churches, First Baptist Church in Delavan, in the 1970s.
Governor Walker began his speech with a special thanks to the MBU students enrolled in the ROTC program, a number of whom were seated in uniform in the first several rows. Walker also took time immediately following his speech to thank ROTC members individually and shake their hands.
Walker called on those in attendance to pray for our nation’s leaders. “Don’t just pray for the ones you voted for, pray for everybody.” Walker voiced his gratitude for those involved in volunteering, grassroots projects, and political support, but, he said, “more than anything, I appreciate the prayers.”
Introducing the topic of leadership, Walker explained, “Our parents and families have a huge impact in our lives, and for me, a huge impact in terms of how I lead. My father, even though he spent a lot of time talking, spent even more of his time listening. I think that’s probably one of the most valuable things I learned from my father.”
Walker’s mother also influenced his leadership style. “Even though she was very quiet, [she] was always looking out for the needs of others. She never backed away from what she believed in, but she was never pushy about it, she just did it; she just lived it.”
His grandmother, in particular, a widow for 34 years, understood the value of money. She “didn’t buy anything on credit” and taught him not to spend money that he didn’t have. “Always save up for it.” Walker noted this principle has guided the way he governs.
Walker’s experience as a Boy Scout furthered his leadership skills, and his participation in the Badger Boys State division of the American Legion exposed him to public service. Walker noted that the veterans who devoted time to training the youth in these programs were not interested in “making young people democrat or republican, but making them patriotic.”
President Ronald Reagan was in office during Walker’s high school years, providing yet another influence on his leadership development. “When I think about President Reagan, what inspired me most about him wasn’t just his political stance, it was his eternal optimism in the American people. The more you do to empower people, not just the structures of government, the better off we will be.”
Walker concluded by summarizing his three-faceted approach to leadership: Listen. Talk. Act. “A lot of times, people in leadership positions do one or two of these things, but not all three. Spend your time listening, then spend your time communicating with people, then go out and act, and do it over and over again.”
Article submitted by Grace Peters